Editor’s Column: I wouldn’t swap Jurgen Klopp for any manager in the world, but last night – he messed up

Posted by

Follow @Jordan_AC90 – Editor of EOTK 

Jurgen Klopp makes supporting Liverpool a pleasure, first and foremost.

When appointed, he asked fans to ‘turn from doubters into believers,’ and we’ve well and truly signed up.

Under his guidance we’re going to achieve great things, and have a brilliant, manic time doing so. The supporters are united behind the charismatic German who in just six months has whet our appetite for what’s to come while overseeing some spectacular moments already.

If he left tomorrow, we’d still have the Manchester City thrashing, the 5-4 Norwich win, beating United in Europe and of course the jaw-dropping Borussia Dortmund comeback to remember him by. If the Premier League had started when he took over, we’d be in the top four. He’s already reached a cup final and could reach another if we beat Villarreal in a week.

We’re proud to have Klopp as our manager and we should be.

He’s a man of principal, in a football and human sense. His on-field style, when implemented properly, is blockbuster, and his ability to draw emotion from his players and Liverpool’s crowd is unrivalled.

But Klopp shouldn’t be immune to criticism. Disagreeing with Klopp’s choices doesn’t make fans, who spend their lives watching, talking and being Liverpool, traitors.

Fans last night and today have fought amongst ourselves over our right to criticise Klopp’s decision not to use our best centre-forward in a European semi-final…

Klopp left a fit, in-form Daniel Sturridge out of the match, and used Roberto Firmino as a false-9 and then Christian Benteke late on instead. We lost 1-0 and now face an uphill task to turn it around at Anfield.

Of course it was a mistake. Klopp’s entitled to make some, as are his players on occasion – not to mention Liverpool fans – but to blindly argue the boss was right to leave Sturridge out is absurd. Liverpool lost the game.

Of course it was a mistake. For those claiming it wasn’t, ask yourself this: ‘What if Brendan Rodgers had left Sturridge out of a semi-final and deployed a false-9…?’

Interestingly, Pep Guardiola made the same error on Wednesday night away to Spanish opposition in a European semi-final… The legendary manager chose to bench Thomas Muller for tactical reasons and lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid. Like with Liverpool and Sturridge, you can be sure Muller will be back in the Bayern team next week.

In this instance, Klopp made a tactical mistake. He’s made many brilliant tactical decisions this season, such as starting Divock Origi ahead of Sturridge against Dortmund – but the choice didn’t work out last night. Villarreal were not exceptional by any means, but we lacked any firepower or attacking movement which could’ve helped us finish off the good positions we got into. Roberto Firmino is going through an off patch at the moment, whereas Sturridge is in blistering form. Obviously, we’ll never know what would have happened if Klopp selected the Englishman.

Klopp should be trusted to get it right next week. He’s a fantastic manager, and will be working every hour to prepare the perfect Liverpool side who’ll be desperate to perform in front of another rapturous Anfield crowd.

We can turn round a one goal deficit. After all, Klopp’s tactical decisions saw us score three necessary goals against a Dortmund side who pose twice the threat of Villarreal.

But last night, he should’ve used our best forward. End of.

More Stories Daniel Sturridge Jürgen Klopp