Liverpool were smashed 5-0 at the weekend by a dominant Manchester City side, in what was a somewhat shock result for a previously in-form Reds side.
Many will have blamed the fact that the final 53 minutes were played with 10 players following Sadio Mane’s sending off, however Joey Barton has blamed Jurgen Klopp for his team selection:
“I was surprised when I saw Liverpool’s starting line-up. You’ve beaten Arsenal 4-0 at home and then you change your backline by taking [Dejan] Lovren out and putting [Ragnar] Klavan in,” he told talkSPORT.
“Klavan has not set the world alight as a Liverpool player and, when you’re going to the Etihad, you want your back four to be confident and connected and know where each other is. But after the sending off after they didn’t seem to have any relation to each other, they were all over the joint.
“I don’t think they’d have won with 11 men, the way City were playing it would have been a tough afternoon for them, but you’ve got to be worried about how Liverpool defend.”
Barton was criticizing Klopp's decision to start Ragnar Klavan at the expense of Dejan Lovren, who played in their recent 4-0 win over Arsenal. The 31-year-old Estonian joined only joined the Reds in the summer of 2016 from Bundesliga side FC Augsburg for a reported £4.5m.
However since moving to Anfield the centre-back hasn't consistently been in Jurgen Klopps team, with the game against City bringing his Premier League starts to 17.
Furthermore the game against City was only Klavan's second full 90 minutes of the season, following their win over Crystal Palace at home earlier this season.
Jurgen Klopp has tended to favour Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren as his centre-back pairing this season in both the Premier League and Champions League, something that Barton clearly feels the German should go back to for Liverpool's next game against Sevilla.