Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has come under criticism from former Premier League players Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy after he was seen "telling off" striker Christian Benteke during Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Southampton.
The Belgian forward came on as a 70th-minute substitute with the Reds leading 2-1 and fluffed his lines with an attempt on goal before the Saints completed their comeback.
Pundits Shearer and Murphy said on Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night it was wrong of Klopp to lay into his player once Liverpool's defeat was sealed (h/t the MailOnline's Alex Sharp).
Former Newcastle United frontman Shearer said:
I understand that he's not his player; I don't think he fancies him. He didn't sign him. I understand all of that, but I wouldn't take too kindly if I was a player and he came onto the pitch in front of 32,000 and let his feelings be known.
No problem if he wants to give him a telling off, or whatever it is, but do it in the dressing room, in the four walls in front of the rest of the players, not in front of all the fans.
The Merseysiders led 2-0 at St. Mary's before leaking two goals from Southampton substitute Sadio Mane and a third from Graziano Pelle, with two of those strikes coming in the final seven minutes of normal time.
Murphy concurred that the Liverpool chief should have waited for the privacy of the dressing room to make his feelings known, rather than publicly air what appeared to be discontent with Benteke's performance:
I couldn't agree more; If you're going to give someone a telling off, then do it inside.
Sometimes he's great, Jurgen Klopp. He's been a breath of fresh air, but sometimes, he's overly animated on the touchline, and it doesn't always go down well with everyone.
It tells me in the first half in games they're playing with a really high intensity that the players can't maintain over the 90 minutes.
It's a very difficult way to play football for a full 90 minutes, and maybe he needs a full pre-season. He'll bring in a couple of players he knows can play his system with, but at the moment, they are very Jekyll and Hyde.
Just like his team, "Jekyll and Hyde" could be considered a fitting way to describe Liverpool chief Klopp, who often paints himself as a jovial character among the managerial ranks but has been shown to have a tough side, too.
The German spoke to BT Sport reporter Des Kelly following a 3-0 win over Capital One Cup winners Manchester City earlier in March, where he was understandably in higher spirits:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
You can watch all of Jurgen Klopp's hilarious post-match interview with @DesKellyBTS on #YouTube. #LFC ▶️ https://t.co/JvNzWoEmoN3/3/2016, 12:04:56 PM
As touched upon by Shearer, it was Klopp's predecessor, Brendan Rodgers, who was at the Anfield helm when Liverpool splashed £32.5 million on Benteke, the highest fee the club has paid for a foreign player.
And now, the club is preparing to cash in on last summer's big-money signing, according to the BBC's Ben Smith, and it certainly seems as though Klopp isn't among the forward's biggest admirers:
Ben Smith @BSmith
Benteke among those who'll be made available in summer. Mignolet not guaranteed No 1. #LFC still interested in Götze, Udinese's Zielinski3/20/2016, 3:28:52 PM
Sharp also provided quotes from Klopp when he was asked about the exchange with Benteke, to which he responded: "I'm not going to go to him and ask, 'Why don't you use the chance?' Sometimes I have to talk to the players; that's my job. They are going out to their national team, and I don't want to make phone calls with them all; I had a few words to say, that's OK, nothing else."
One wouldn't like to think Klopp's decision to air his feelings in plain sight was to rally support against Benteke, who has started just one Premier League match in 2016, all the way back in January.
However, these are the kind of manoeuvres that could help gain backing from fans and board members alike should Klopp decide he no longer has use for the Belgian at the end of this season.
Benteke has scored eight goals in 35 appearances for the Merseysiders during his maiden Liverpool campaign, and Klopp's patience would appear to be wearing thin following the Reds' latest disappointment.
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