Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp urged to give up on two players

Jurgen Klopp: Champions League qualification not my main worry

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been warned that he needs to “give up” on two of his players in order for the Reds to turn their season around and finish in the Champions League places. After back-to-back Premier League defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds, Liverpool are eight points behind Newcastle in fourth, and sit below Fulham and Brighton in the table.

Injuries have pushed Klopp’s squad this campaign, with squad players having to play important minutes in big games while the season’s difficult schedule due to the mid-season has not helped Liverpool, but former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino has claimed that two players need to be taken out of the team.

“Jurgen Klopp must give up on some players, at least for now,” Cascarino wrote in The Times. “Harvey Elliott is a really exciting prospect, but he is 19 and cannot yet reach the levels demanded of a Liverpool starter. Joe Gomez was outstanding in the win over Manchester City but has been dreadful for the rest of the season.

“Jurgen Klopp has plenty of credit in the bank at Anfield, but he is not absolved from blame. His decision to take off Trent [Alexander-Arnold], one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, and replace him with James Milner against Leeds was baffling. Recruitment has not helped.

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“Liverpool were so concerned about the impact of losing Sadio Mane that they overlooked the need to reinforce the engine room. The only central midfielder they signed in the summer was Arthur [Melo], who has played 13 minutes for the first team.”

Gomez has made several high-profile errors that has plagued his time as a regular starter this season, as he has deputised for the injured Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate. This is his first run in the team for several years, and was mooted as a potential late arrival to Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad, but his place is now unlikely and Konate or Matip will likely be restored to the heart of the defence alongside Virgil van Dijk when fully fit.

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Elliott has played in every league game this season, both in midfield and wide on the right, and has been one of the youngsters alongside fellow teenager Fabio Carvalho who has had to step up and perform in the absence of senior team-mates.

He has been preferred to captain Jordan Henderson at times this season, as Klopp has had to reshuffle his pack and use the former Fulham starlet on the right to accommodate Mohamed Salah as a central striker.

Both Gomez and Elliott could drop out of the team when senior players return from injury, though they will remain vital players in the squad as the tough schedule returns after the World Cup.

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