Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp raised eyebrows when he replaced top scorer Mohamed Salah in Thursday's 1-0 defeat by Chelsea but the German defended his decision, saying the striker was "feeling the intensity".
Klopp took off Salah, the league's leading scorer with 17 goals, for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 62nd minute when Liverpool were hunting an equaliser after Mason Mount had given Chelsea the lead in the first half.
Egyptian Salah was baffled by the decision, as he left the field shaking his head.
"In that moment he looked like he felt the intensity and I didn't want to risk it," Klopp said. "It is all fine, I make decisions that I think are right in the moment.
Liverpool have scored just one league goal at Anfield in 2021.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 4, 2021
A Mohamed Salah penalty. pic.twitter.com/yIiAG4z99T
"I just brought on fresh legs. (Salah) looked like he suffered a bit, he played a lot of games. I could have taken off Sadio (Mane) or Bobby (Roberto Firmino), that is all clear, but at that moment it looked like Mo."
Liverpool ripped up the record books last season on the way to their first English top-flight title in 30 years, but a season marred by injuries and poor form has left them in seventh on 43 points from 27 games, four points adrift of Chelsea in fourth.
Klopp's side have lost five successive home games for the first time in their history and gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said the Merseyside club must take action in the summer transfer window to address their goal-scoring problem.
"At this moment when you're watching Liverpool, you're not quite sure where the goals are going to come from," Carragher told Sky Sports.
"Liverpool need to do something big in the transfer market in terms of bringing someone in to score goals."