West Ham skipper Mark Noble came out in support of Jurgen Klopp’s decision not to manage his Liverpool team in their FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury in midweek, when writing his regular column for the Evening Standard.
The Reds fielded a ‘C’ team against the League One side at Anfield, but still progressed through to the fifth round, winning the game 1-0.
Jurgen Klopp received heavy criticism from some sections of the media and the footballing world for his decision to put Neil Critchley in charge of what was essentially an under-23 team against the Shrews on Tuesday night.
The Times’ chief football writer Henry Winter labelled the German as disrespectful in his column for the newspaper here.
But West Ham captain Mark Noble has leant his support to Klopp, suggesting that the Liverpool boss has earned the right to make the decisions like the one he made, when writing his regular column for the Evening Standard:
“I was in full agreement with Jurgen Klopp and his decision to give his senior players the time off, despite their FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury. He is the manager of Liverpool and no one knows better than him the condition of his players and the priorities. They won the Champions League last year and they’re 22 points ahead of the rest in the Premier League, so he’s getting most things right, isn’t he?”
So was Klopp right to play the kids and not attend?
There are two ways of looking at this one. Klopp, of course, has the prerogative to do what he wants. He is the manager of Liverpool and his primary concern is the well-being of his players. And if he felt that giving them a break against Shrewsbury was the right decision, then who are we to disagree?
There is the argument to be made, however, that the Shrewsbury team deserved the chance to compete against the Reds’ best players on what could have been a magical night for them at Anfield.
What’s done is done, however. And as West Ham man Noble says, Klopp was well within his rights to make the call that he did.