Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he ‘hated’ replacing Sadio Mane at half-time of last night’s Group B clash with Atletico Madrid but insists it was the right thing to do to ensure Liverpool finished the game with 11 players on the pitch.
The Senegalese star was on the receiving end of a number of tackles in the early stages of the match, including the challenge that saw Atletico defender Felipe dismissed.
“I hated it more than you can imagine because Sadio played an incredible game, but then what’s the decision?” the Normal One said via Football365.
“I was not worried that Sadio cannot handle his emotions, he was calm. The thing is, the ball comes in the air, you go in for a heading challenge and the other player is going down.
“We all saw what some Madrid players did, rolling over more and more in all the situations to equal the number of players again.
“I didn’t like it, but I think it was the right thing to do.”
The No.10 made way for Roberto Firmino, however, the Brazilian lasted just over half an hour before being replaced by Divock Origi with the former Mainz boss later confirming he had sustained a hamstring injury.
Ex-Southampton man, Mane, had been yellowed himself in the 13th minute and Simeone’s men were trying their best to even the player count at every opportunity.
The German coach commented on Madrid’s antics saying: “I don’t think it’s good or bad. Everybody is different and you have to use your own skillset.
“We have to play our football and that’s what we did.”
We will need Sadio in top form if we are to return home from the London Stadium with all three points on Sunday.
Fabinho impressed on his return to the team last night and Thiago also looked sharp when introduced as a second-half substitute, which will certainly bode well for our upcoming visit to David Moyes’ in-form West Ham outfit.
The return of two of our key men comes at a great time as we continue to try and reduce the gap on league leaders Chelsea.