Jurgen Klopp insists that he substituted Mohamed Salah in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in order to bring on fresh legs, with the Egyptian left cutting an angry figure on the touchline.
Salah was hauled off the in the 62nd minute of the match at Anfield, the earliest he has ever been withdrawn by Klopp in a Premier League game.
The Egyptian came off at the same time as Curtis Jones, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the returning Diogo Jota coming on.
Salah could be seen shaking his head disconsolately on the bench, but Klopp says the decision was purely to freshen up the Liverpool team.
“I just brought on fresh legs,” he told Sky Sports.
“Mo looked like today he suffered a bit, he played a lot of games.
“I could have taken off Sadio or Bobby, that is all clear but at that moment it looked like Mo. Milner we bought on to wake them up a bit and keep them in the game because we needed one situation.
On the defeat he added: “It is a massive blow. It is not done yet. We have to win football games.”
In the Sky Sports commentary box, Jamie Carragher was left disappointed with the decision.
“I’m surprised at Mo Salah coming off, l really am. He doesn’t look too happy himself.
Carragher’s fellow Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool captain Jamie Redknapp took aim at the morale of the Reds squad as they slipped to a defeat that left them down in seventh place in the table four points off the top four.
“I see a lot of Liverpool players who are feeling sorry for themselves right now,” said Redknapp.
“Last year, Liverpool were a pressing machine. Right now, teams are doing that to them.”