Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he took off Dejan Lovren at half-time against Southampton because the defender was on a yellow card.
Holding a 2-0 advantage at the interval, Lovren was replaced by tough-tackling defender Martin Skrtel, but things didn't go to plan.
Skrtel endured a torrid 45 minutes and Liverpool surrendered their lead, eventually losing the game by three goals to two.
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In fact, within minutes of entering the field of play, Skrtel, who was making his first appearance for the first-team since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, conceded a penalty.
Saints ace Sadio Mane missed the spot kick but quickly made up for it by netting a brace in the topsy-turvy contest.
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When asked why he replaced Lovren against Saints, Klopp, as per the Liverpool Echo, responded by saying: “His yellow card.
“I thought at the end of the first half it looked like the ref was not completely any more free of the emotion in the stadium. Maybe this situation was not okay.
“Okay, maybe it was a penalty – I don’t know. I thought we had to change this because it was clear that they will play a lot of long balls to Pelle and it’s not easy for a centre-half to challenge for these without a yellow card, especially when the ref changed a bit the mood.
“It was not too good today for us today, obviously.”
There is still hope
Ultimately, the decision cost Liverpool; Skrtel was off the pace and the likes of Mane and Graziano Pelle exploited that.
Reds fans will be well aware that it's going to be tricky for their club to secure a top four finish, but Manchester United's victory over Manchester City on Sunday may just about keep their dream alive. Klopp's side will probably have to be perfect between now and the end of the season, however.
But Liverpool fans shouldn't be too disheartened at this stage. It was most definitely 45 minutes to forget, but they are heading in the right direction under Klopp's regime.
There will, of course, be more setbacks along the way, but the club can improve over the coming years.
This summer will certainly represent an interesting one for all involved; it's crucial that Klopp manages to capture a couple of key signings in pursuit of putting together his own team on Merseyside.
Liverpool are clearly still a few players away from competing with the best teams in the division and action has to be taken in the immediate future.
How many signings should Liverpool make this summer? Have your say below!
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