Richard Buxton: Klopp's gamble costs Liverpool
Liverpool boss' decision to rest Coutinho and Firmino proves a costly mistake
To err is human and Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp knows he is by no means infallible.
His argument that the recent emphasis on the Reds' awe-inspiring "Fab Four" collective was both unfair and disrespectful; that his team are only equal to the sum of their parts, may have proven to be among his most misguided judgments yet.
|(Mohamed Salah 42)||(Wayne Rooney 76-pen)|
At Anfield yesterday, he tested both that theory and the patience of its natives in resting both Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on the back of their exploits in last Wednesday's 7-0 Champions League win over Spartak Moscow.
It was considered a stroke of madness rather than genius before a ball had even been kicked.
By the final whistle of a 1-1 draw with Everton, it was deemed a quantifiable catastrophe; a gamble which could - and should - have really been avoided.
Such had been the Brazilian duo's blistering form against Spartak in midweek that an Everton side who remained winless in their rivals' backyard since 1999 appeared a perfect palate-cleanser.
Klopp clearly had other ideas, and he was made to pay for it.
Breaking up the band was supposed to take place only in the January transfer window, when one of his stars looks set to flutter his eyes in Barcelona's direction.
Klopp, however, sees football through a different ideology to most of its observers.
Like a child at Christmas, he believes that the improbable can happen with enough willing.
But sometimes, not even a Mohamed Salah wonder-strike is enough; especially against a Sam Allardyce team hell-bent on parking the bus and frustrating their free-scoring hosts.
Affording his free-scoring quartet just 12 minutes to try and turn the tide of a game was naive of Klopp.
Dominant but not devastating, this performance was a microcosm of Liverpool's seasonal shortcomings.
Defender Dejan Lovren's chronic mistakes are making things worse.
Yet again, he was the culprit as yet another win was surrendered.
Allardyce is nothing if not honest.
The Everton manager had forewarned his opposite number what to expect.
Only one of them will be crossing off the days until the sides meet again in next month's FA Cup third round.
Klopp was accused of rotating too little as Liverpool breathlessly clambered over the finish line of the previous EPL campaign.
Now, he has gone in the opposite direction.
He may need to look in the mirror this morning and question whether it was he, rather than his critics, who were really the disrespectful ones.
- LIVERPOOL: Simon Mignolet, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Andrew Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Philippe Coutinho 76), James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah (Roberto Firmino 67), Dominic Solanke (Danny Ings 82)
- EVERTON: Jordan Pickford, Jonjoe Kenny, Mason Holgate, Ashley Williams, Cuco Martina, Idrissa Gueye, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Wayne Rooney (Phil Jagielka 83), Tom Davies (Aaron Lennon 46), Gylf Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse (Morgan Schneiderlin 46)