Liverpool news: McManaman slates Jurgen Klopp decision as multiple pundits savage out-of-sorts defender

Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez of Liverpool

Steve McManaman has aimed a barb at Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for the way he used Joe Gomez during Saturday’s victory over Wolves.

The Reds made their customary slow start and went behind in just the seventh minute at Molineux. Hwang Hee-chan gave the hosts the lead after superb work by Pedro Neto. And it remained 1-0 at half-time as the Merseysiders looked way off the pace.

However, it was a different story after the interval as the Anfield outfit roared back to claim a 3-1 triumph.

Cody Gakpo levelled affairs before Andy Robertson marked his 200th Premier League appearance with the second.

Harvey Elliott’s injury-time shot deflected in off Hugo Bueno for an own goal to put the gloss on the victory.

But it could have been a different story had Klopp not rallied his troops during the break.

Gomez was forced to play right-back due to multiple injuries across the back line.

It was a gamble given his lack of experience in that role. And it seemed to backfire as Neto made him look ordinary on a number of occasions during the first period.

Former Liverpool star McManaman was not impressed.

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And he felt asking Gomez to play in a similar way to Trent Alexander-Arnold was always going to cause problems.

“Joe Gomez is now playing like this inverted right-back,” he said on Premier League Productions. “He is starting at right-back, then going and playing into centre midfield.

“He doesn’t need to do that.”

Gomez in firing line as pundits deliver verdict

Gomez has struggled with injuries and form in recent years.

Having been a regular during the 2017-2018 season, he then became a bit-part player for the north-west giants.

The Londoner had been capped 11 times by England but has not featured for the Three Lions since 2020.

Last season saw the former Charlton Athletic man enjoy 15 starts among 21 Premier League outings.

But he had made just 15 top-flight appearances across the previous two campaigns.

And a few pundits picked up on his lack of tactical awareness.

Jermaine Jenas had his say on TNT Sports, giving a downbeat assessment of how the 26-year-old shaped up while defending for the Wolves goal.

“You watch here with Neto. Joe Gomez doesn’t know what to do with him,” he said

“All he did was point in behind and Joe Gomez dropped about ten yards. Then he gets it short and just runs by him, it was brilliant wide play.”

And former England defender Martin Keown added his voice on talkSPORT.

“Gomez is equipped with pace but you’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve got to get tighter to people,” he said.

“I know he’s switching from a right back to a midfield berth and on this occasion he was very high up the pitch, but he should be doing better than that.”

The positive for Liverpool and Klopp is that they were able to adjust and came away with all three points despite their first-half woes.

They now sit third in the fledgling table but Arsenal could move above them with a sizeable victory over Everton on Sunday.

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