Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said he substituted Mohamed Salah in the loss to Chelsea as he felt the Egyptian “suffered a bit” with fatigue.
Salah had a below-par game at Anfield on Thursday and was subbed off on 62 minutes of the 1-0 loss to the Blues.
While the player looked unhappy to be withdrawn, his agent stirred the pot with a tweet that contained only a full stop in the immediate aftermath of Salah’s departure.
Klopp plays down prospect of Van Dijk or Gomez facing Mainz
The loss was the fifth on the spin Liverpool have suffered at home, which is the first time in their history they have gone on such a run, but the focus was on Salah.
Klopp felt he could have been justified in withdrawing any of his front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
"I just brought on fresh legs,” Klopp 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."
In an interview with the BBC, Klopp added: "In that moment he looked like he felt the intensity tonight and I didn't want to risk it.
"It is all fine, I make decisions that I think are right in the moment."
- 'He deserved to start' - Mourinho says Alli's place in Tottenham side due to hard work
- 'It would be great to see a female manager in the men's game'
Liverpool surrendered the defence of their title some weeks ago, with the focus now being on securing a place in the top for.
They trail fourth-placed Chelsea by four points, and Klopp says the fight goes on.
"It is a massive blow,” he said. “It is not done yet. We have to win football games."
'It makes no sense' - Solskjaer on 10-day isolation after international duty
Commenting on the poor run at home, Klopp said: “Unfortunately we cannot say it is only at home. It is not about Anfield or whatever, it is in general, too often.
"In the decisive moments we have to improve. We have to show our quality in these moment and we don't do that often enough.”
'No set-backs' - Klopp offers injury update on Gomez and Van Dijk
'Crazy to write off Germany' - Klopp's warning for England over Euro 2020 clash