Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders tried to get Naby Keita into the opposition third v West Ham on Monday night, but eventually gave up and charged Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with the job instead.
This is according to Chris Williams, who suggests the German and his assistant were frustrated by Keita ignoring touchline instructions.
Klopp and Lijnders on the touchline gesturing and shouting for Keita to move forward (three times), doesn't – on comes Oxlade-Chamberlain.
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) February 24, 2020
It turned out to be a smart decision from the management, as Ox changed the game and provided us with the central thrust missing in the first hour.
Keita did a few good things in the first-half, but failed to stamp any authority on the game or increase the pace when it was needed.
It will be interesting to see whether Klopp remains faithful to our no.8 v Watford at the weekend, or if he chooses to start Ox in the continued absence of Jordan Henderson.
The skipper is still out with a hamstring problem and is unlikely to return for a fortnight yet.
We think Keita and Ox both provide different things. The former is more skilful and better in tight areas, and likely has better vision as well, but the Englishman is faster, stronger and gets into the box more often.
Great players – and a nice problem for Klopp to have.