Jason McAteer has called out two Liverpool players who he believed looked tired and laboured during today’s 4-4 draw against Greuther Furth.
A frantic second half saw seven goals as both teams led at various intervals, with some of the XI introduced by Jurgen Klopp at half-time enduring a testing afternoon in Germany.
The defence will be especially disappointed to concede four times in a half-hour period, and two of the more senior members of the backline came under the Irishman’s microscope.
Speaking on punditry duty for LFC TV on Monday afternoon, McAteer said: “I looked at Joe Gomez and he looked like he was labouring there, decision making, it’s not sharp. When does Joel Matip try and play a ball inside his own box with the outside of his foot? It’s lazy. It’s just tiredness.”
The whole point of pre-season is to get players up to speed and fine-tuned ahead of the competitive action getting underway, although some aspects of today’s performance will certainly alarm Klopp.
The manner in which a few of Greuther Furth’s goals came about won’t have amused the manager, and he’d expect better from his more experienced players for sure.
Matip also came in for criticism from both Ian Doyle and Ronnie Whelan over his languid defending for the German side’s second goal of the game, and you’d like to think the 31-year-old will have a point to prove whenever he next features for the Reds.
Luckily today’s match was just a friendly, so mistakes are largely inconsequential, but Klopp will be hammering it into his players to tighten up defensively for the fixtures against Leicester, Bayern Munich and Darmstadt over the next fortnight.
The best response from players to criticism is to deliver a commanding performance in their next game, something we know both Gomez and Matip are capable of doing when they’re at their best.