Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell outmatched the Premier League’s top scorer Mohamed Salah in their 1-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
Chilwell was tasked with keeping Salah quiet and he did just that as the blues condemned Liverpool to a fifth consecutive defeat at home for the first time in their history.
With Klopp’s side a goal down, through Mason Mount’s first-half strike, the Liverpool head coach decided to withdraw the Egyptian forward in the 62nd minute and replace him with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
According to Sky Sports, this was the earliest Salah had been substituted in a Premier League match since September 2017 and he was not happy about it, shaking his head as he made his way to the bench.
After the game, Klopp revealed why he took off the player. He said: “I’m happy when the boys look disappointed, that’s not a problem. “I didn’t see it from Mo. The reason for the sub was I could have changed other players as well but the reason was he looked like he felt the intensity and I didn’t want to risk him. That’s all.
“It’s really rare and usually Mo looks surprisingly fresh until the end. I thought he didn’t look fresh anymore. The last two or three years have nothing to do with that.”
But there was one major moment that led to Klopp making the call and Chilwell was at the heart of it, making Klopp so furious he made the big change.
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Moments before the substitution was made, Klopp was seen shouting at Salah to track back as Chilwell and Chelsea went forward, which was spotted by journalist Matt Critchley.
That perceived lack of effort led to the manager turning to his assistant Pep Lijnders, with the substituion made shortly afterwards.
However, Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was surprised by the decision. He said: “Klopp’s never been shy in taking Salah off the pitch. It’s not a case where he’s worried about taking his main player off. He’s taken him off in certain games where Salah has been poor.
“He’s a big goal threat, but a lot of the time where he’s been taken off in the past, Liverpool’s attacking play has been breaking down. You could understand it.
“He wasn’t at his best tonight, but it wasn’t one of those games where he was losing possession. He just didn’t have much of the ball.”