Earlier this week, Chris Sutton described Jurgen Klopp’s decision to send Nathaniel Clyne on loan to Bournemouth last month as the biggest of his Liverpool tenure so far.
The BT Sport pundit told the Daily Mail it was a decision that could cost the Reds the Premier League title.
While it might be a slight exaggeration to suggest sending Clyne out on loan may have handed the title to Manchester City, many Liverpool fans agree it was a mistake that could prove costly.
Just days after Clyne sealed his move to the Vitality Stadium, Liverpool lost first-choice right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold to injury.
The Merseyside outfit won their first game without Alexander-Arnold but James Milner endured a torrid afternoon in the right-back spot against Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and was sent off shortly before full-time after receiving two yellow cards. The Reds also conceded three goals in that game.
Jordan Henderson then played at right-back in the 1-1 draw against Leicester City - a match which saw Liverpool spurn the opportunity to move seven points clear of City - while Milner played in that position once more in the 1-1 draw against West Ham earlier this week.
Liverpool fans have been left scratching their heads, wondering why Klopp would allow Clyne to leave Anfield considering the lack of strength in depth in the right-back position.
However, journalist Melissa Reddy - an experienced Liverpool reporter - has explained why Klopp was prepared to let the 27-year-old go after being asked by a fan.
“I understand why people seem frustrated by the Clyne decision, but in truth - the people who worked with him day in and out at Liverpool knew his physical limitations as well as his tactical and technical limitations to play as a fullback the way Klopp now demands,” Reddy explained on The Athletic, per a screenshot posted on Reddit.
“I don't think he would have done any more than Hendo/Milner. I think it was better for him to go somewhere and play regularly at his age.
“Liverpool have got out of the habit of making decisions based on a game or three - it's all big picture, which has worked for them really well on the pitch during JK's tenure as well as off it (as the latest financial results show).”
It seems Klopp and his coaching staff have lost faith in Clyne’s ability to play at right-back in the current system.
Reddy doubts he would have performed better in the games against Palace, Leicester and West Ham than either Milner or Henderson.
Assuming what Reddy says is correct, Clyne’s days playing at Liverpool under Klopp are surely numbered.