Danny Mills has blasted Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for his stance over the Reds’ FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England defender claimed that the German’s plans to play a weakened side were fine, but his decision to not attend the game himself sent out the wrong kind of message to his younger players.
Klopp has confirmed that he will not be in the dugout for the clash at Anfield, which falls during his side’s scheduled midseason winter break.
Instead, U23s manager Neil Critchley will take charge of an XI that is not expected to include any members of the Reds’ first team squad – much to Mills’ disgruntlement.
“How can you not turn up to your club’s first team game?”, he asked Football Insider.
“It’s not an U23 game. Embarrassing.
“I mean, play whatever team you want, but you’ve got to be there to support your players.
“He’s the man who has said time and time again, the tradition of the club is Liverpool, bringing young players through is what Liverpool do. Look how many young players he’s brought through.
“I think he’s trying to make a point, maybe went a little bit too far. It’s probably his first mistake as Liverpool manager, because they’ve won the league, completely, not an issue.
“He and Liverpool have been sensational. But if other managers did this, we would be tearing them apart.
“Yes, Jurgen Klopp has been an outstanding, phenomenal manager, and what he’s done with Liverpool is just off the charts. But I think it’s hugely discouraging and disrespectful for those younger players. I think it’s the wrong decision.”
The Reds were held to a shock 2-2 draw when they travelled to the League One side last weekend, blowing a commanding lead after Scottish forward Jason Cummings struck twice for the hosts.
The last time Klopp elected to play a side without any first team players in it, his team were soundly beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup earlier this season.
In other Liverpool news, ‘Sensational’ – Danny Mills reacts to shattering Kop injury blow.