Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed his reasoning for taking off centre-back Dejan Lovren at half-time while 2-0 up against Southampton, with the Saints clawing back to beat Klopp’s men 3-2, talkSPORT reports.
The Reds thought they had sealed a victory at the Saint Mary’s Stadium after going two goals to the good in the first half, but a Sadio Mane Brace sandwiching a Graziano Pelle goal turned the tie around to give Southampton a victory.
And it was substitute Martin Skrtel who gave away a penalty and looked out of pace trying to deal with the Southampton strikers, which made many question the decision to bring off Lovren.
However, Klopp claimed he took off the Croatian due to his first-half yellow card, believing that the referee could possibly book him for a another offence in the second period.
Klopp said when prompted why Lovren was substituted: “His yellow card.
“I thought at the end of the first half it looked like the ref was not completely free anymore of the emotion in the stadium.
“Maybe he thought later it was a penalty with Dejan Lovren, I don’t know. I thought, ‘we need to change this’.
“The first battle, the first challenge in the second half it was clear they would play a lot of long balls to Pelle.
“It’s not easy for a centre half [to challenge for these balls] coming out without a yellow card, especially when the ref changed a little bit the mood.”
Liverpool now must win all their remaining games to have any chance of finishing fourth and qualifying for next season’s Champions League campaign.