Liverpool fans weren’t happy with James Milner after Sunday’s draw at Old Trafford, and some stunning stats reveal just how wrong Jurgen Klopp was to leave Trent Alexander-Arnold out of the starting XI.
Klopp will feel like he missed an opportunity when he reviews the 0-0 draw against Manchester United, as the Red Devils were there for the taking once injuries forced all three of their substitutions in the first half.
He is surely already aware of one crucial mistake though, as the charismatic German decided to start Milner at right-back over Alexander-Arnold only for it to backfire horrifically.
Alexander-Arnold had a nightmare dealing with Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford last season, perhaps what prompted the change, but the 20 year-old’s impact is at an all-time high, and he likely would have produced some magic with all the space Milner was afforded on Sunday.
In fact, the stats below suggest this was an absolutely catastrophic blunder from Klopp.
Per Simon Brundish, the Reds have earned a whopping 2.5 points per game in the 24 games Alexander-Arnold has played in this season, but they average just 1.58 points per game without the local lad, a mind-blowing difference.
This disparity carries on right across the board too, as the Reds’ goals, goals conceded, expected goals and expected goals against are all worse when the youngster is left out.
To really add salt into the wounds, Brundish states that Mohamed Salah is massively effected by Alexander-Arnold’s presence as well.
When the right-back plays, Salah scores or assists a goal every 95 minutes. Without the 5-cap England international, Salah manages a goal or assist every 131 minutes.
Given Salah’s struggles at Old Trafford last season, Klopp should have been doing everything in his power to get the best out of his talisman, and starting Alexander-Arnold may just have unlocked the Egyptian international.
If the Reds miss out on the league title by a couple of points, Klopp would be right to look back at this as perhaps his biggest blunder of the season.