John Hartson believes Jurgen Klopp knew what he was doing in "humiliating" Christian Benteke

John Hartson spoke to Off The Ball on Monday night about the confrontation between player and manager

Christian Benteke, Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool,

Image: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The sight of Jurgen Klopp having a frank exchange of views with his most expensive striker on the pitch at the end of the game against Southampton on Sunday raised a few eyebrows. 

Benteke had spurned a great chance to score and put Liverpool 3-1 up, before they capitulated and ended up conceding twice more to end up on the wrong end of a 3-2 loss

Klopp was frustrated at the end of the match, and said as much, but he also let it show when he walked on to the pitch at the final whistle to berate Benteke. 

Speaking on Off The Ball, John Hartson told Joe Molloy that it was striking to see Klopp coming up to him and speaking to him in the manner in which he did. 

"Maybe Klopp has shown now that's the way he operates," said Hartson "maybe that's not unusual to him. He's got a history of doing it at Dortmund where he has a fantastic record.

"As a footballer, I think I could have dealt with that, but if you're weak, and there are a lot of weak-minded footballers out there [...] that can kill you and take you backward a million miles". 

Hartson added that Klopp "knew exactly what he was doing in publicly humiliating him and throwing him under a bus in front of the world's cameras and maybe that's his philosophy". 

The former Welsh international stated that he could have dealt with it differently, but "I'm not going to criticse Jurgen Klopp. Who's to say he was right or wrong? I think it's common knowledge that he doesn't particularly fancy his £32.5 million striker, who was signed under a different manager [...] as soon as that transfer window is open, I'd be amazed if Benteke wasn't the first name out the door at Anfield". 

Speaking about how he would have reacted to such a dressing down, Hartson mentioned that current Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill was no stranger to letting a player know when he was unhappy. 

"I played under Martin for four seasons at Celtic and he was a manager that, in no uncertain terms, would tell you what he thought [...] but he predominantly did it out of the view of the public eye and the fans and the cameras". 

Image: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images

"Martin's a very bright individual and whenever he did give you a rollocking, as such, he did it for a reason and he'd be looking for a reaction. He knew the players that could deal with a rollocking and he knew the ones he had to put an arm around".  

Detailing something that might be all too familiar to members of the current Ireland squad, with both Roy Keane and O'Neill in the dressing room, Hartson stated that when he was singled out by O'Neill, "I went slightly tomato-faced because that's my colouring, but he didn't stop at that! I was often in his office, but the manger is always right, I'm a firm believer in that".  

When it comes to Klopp, Hartson believes that the manager here holds all the cards and not the multi-million pound signing, something which is rather unusual: "Liverpool have brought [Klopp] in and given him carte blanche to change the team change personnel [...] He is a top manager and I'm sure they will realise that Jurgen Klopp is more of a benefit to them right now than what Christian Benteke is".

As for the future of the Belgian international, Hartson believes that he can still do a job, but a public dressing down, such as the one he got on Sunday, won't help him deal with the pressure of being at a big club:

"He's a top class striker, he's great in the air, he's powerful, he's quick, he's just having a difficult time of it at Liverpool. It's very hard to wear that no. 9 shirt at certain clubs, some players really struggle with that".