‘Looked very heavy-legged’ – Ronnie Whelan agrees with one thing Jurgen Klopp did v Aston Villa

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Although Ronnie Whelan claimed that Jurgen Klopp’s substitutions on Monday night didn’t help Liverpool, he agreed with one of the changes that the 56-year-old made against Aston Villa.

The German made a quadruple change in the 76th minute with his team leading 3-1, with Wataru Endo among the four players to be withdrawn before the home side netted two late goals to rescue a draw.

Speaking on The Official Liverpool FC Podcast, the former Republic of Ireland midfielder insisted that the manager was right to bring off the 31-year-old at that juncture.

Whelan said: “As of late the changes have been made and things have gone flat. The pace isn’t the same as when the players are on beforehand. I thought the likes of Endo needed to come off because he looked very heavy-legged, but the changes haven’t helped again.”

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Klopp was rightly praised for the effectiveness of his substitutions earlier this season, but as Whelan says, the in-game alterations haven’t had the desired effect in recent weeks.

If anything, the quadruple change last night had a destabilising effect on the Reds, who were in firm control of the game at that point before losing their rhythm and conceding a late double to Jhon Duran.

In tandem with the team in general, Endo’s form over the past month has tailed off, but it’s understandable why fatigue may have kicked in for the Japanese midfielder.

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Although 10 players have clocked up more game-time for Liverpool this season, the 31-year-old has still accrued 2,668 minutes across 42 appearances (Transfermarkt), which is more than what many may have expected at the time of his arrival from Stuttgart last August.

Also, the number 3’s relentless work rate out of possession in the middle of the park is bound to take its toll after such a hectic campaign, which also incorporated his involvement at the Asian Cup over the winter.

Injuries to other players necessitated Endo to play more minutes than he might have envisaged at the start of the season, and although his impact has dwindled recently, he still has every reason to feel satisfied with his overall performances across his first year at Anfield.

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