Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Mesut Ozil after recent criticism.
Ozil’s performance against Stoke last weekend was heavily criticised and his German compatriot, Jurgen Klopp, doesn’t understand why.
“I remember the 3-3 we played against Arsenal here,” Klopp said, as reported by The Daily Mail.
“Without Ozil and Olivier Giroud, we would have won 3-0. One long ball, Giroud gave it to Mesut and it was five players on him, no chance. He is an outstandingly skilled boy.
“I don’t watch Arsenal often enough to be right to have an opinion about it. If people are not happy with him, I don’t know why.
“There is no doubt in Germany about the quality of Mesut Ozil. Germany is really blessed with a lot of world-class players in his position and he is a fix in the German national team, so that should be a sign.
“Jogi Low sticks to the players he is successful with but not when other players offer more so he was always a very, very important player for Germany. He won the World Cup with Germany so I don’t know why people give him the criticism.”
An Arsenal defeat is usually followed by a handful of pundits calling out Ozil on something. Whether it’s his defensive contribution or his inability to dribble past three players and bend one into the top corner, he’s a top target for criticism.
So it proved against last weekend when Steven Gerrard, who’s now a youth coach at Liverpool, labelled Ozil a liability because he didn’t track back into his own half during Stoke’s goal.
It’s almost certain that should Arsenal lose to Liverpool later today, Ozil will be in the firing line once again.
For all of Ozil’s perceived failings, he’s highly rated within the game itself. His fellow players and manager are all aware of his ability and plan accordingly when playing against him.
A lot of eyes will be on Ozil against Liverpool to see how he performs in what will likely be an open and chaotic match. Ozil will play as he always does, but for some, that could be an issue.