By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was wrong to dish out criticism on the pitch to Christian Benteke after the Merseysiders’ meltdown at St Mary’s Stadium.
Klopp and the Belgian striker appeared to be involved in a frank discussion on the pitch moments after Liverpool surrendered a two goal lead to lose 3-2 against Southampton in Sunday’s Premier League clash.
Leading 2-1, Benteke was brought on to the field and missed a glorious chance to extend the lead but scuffed his effort wide and Klopp was seen to offer some frank advice to the striker after the full-time whistle.
Klopp was asked about the incident after the game, but insisted the exchange was not an angry one.
“Sometimes we have to talk with players, that’s my job,” said Klopp speaking to the BBC. “They go to the national teams now and I don’t want to make phone calls with all of them, so I had a few words, it’s okay. Nothing else.”
However Match of the Day 2 pundit Alan Shearer said the German should have had his say in the changing rooms away from the cameras.
“I understand that he’s not his player, I don’t think he fancies him. He didn’t sign him,” former England striker Shearer told MOTD 2. “I understand all of that but I wouldn’t take too kindly If I was a player and he came on to the pitch in front of 32,000 and let his feelings be known.
“No problem if he wants to give him a telling off, or whatever it is, but do it in the dressing room, in the four walls in front of the rest of the players, not in front of all the fans.”
Former Liverpool player Danny Murphy echoed Shearer’s thoughts but also said the style of play implored by Klopp could be a factor in team losing 11 points from winning positions this season.
“I couldn’t agree more, If you’re going to give someone a telling off then do it inside,’ said Murphy.
‘Sometimes he’s great Jurgen Klopp, he’s been a breath of fresh air but sometimes he’s overly animated on the touchline and it doesn’t always go down well with everyone.
“It tells me in the first half in games they’re playing with a really high intensity that the players can’t maintain over the 90 minutes.
“It’s a very difficult way to play football for a full 90 minutes and maybe he needs a full pre-season. He’ll bring in a couple of players he knows can play his system with but at the moment they are very Jekyll and Hyde.”
Benteke was a mega-transfer acquisition by former coach Brendan Rodgers at £32.5million in the summer, but has struggled to live up to his price-tag in his first season at Anfield.
He started on the substitute’s bench once again on Sunday, as he was overlooked in favour of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, who started as a strike pair in the absence of the injured Roberto Firmino.
In other Liverpool news, a German journalist has revealed that Mario Gotze wants to move to Merseyside in the summer.