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Jürgen Klopp On That One Weird Second Half Formation Change

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The Liverpool manager explains his reasons for the team’s shape after subbing off Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The thing about Jürgen Klopp is that he knows what’s going on. And he’s smart. He knows that mistakes are inherent in development. Mistakes are inherent in experimentation. And mistakes are inherent in anything that involves leaving Daniel Sturridge on the bench when dulling Liverpool’s attack in favor of three center halves and wingbacks wasn’t cutting the mustard for very long. But, hey, mistakes.

Klopp knows what’s going on, though. And just as you’re giving him the side-eye and thinking “what’s happened to you, buddy? Don’t like to win anymore?,” he arrives like out of nowhere with a fair bit of sense and perspective.

“We only thought it made sense to give one more defensive protection in the center,” said Klopp, “but we still had a little bit more freedom for the wings, for Clyney and Millie, because against this system we played against today, that’s how you bring them in and force them to move.

“And when they move you can play through the half-space. That’s how we actually scored the second goal. That was the plan behind it and nothing else.”

Klopp explained not putting Sturridge in by implying that he wasn’t confident that Daniel could handle the high-energy vibe of the match. But if the player is on the bench and not ready for Bournemouth at home, what are we doing? That’s a mighty clinical left foot to leave out of a match that needed a mighty good strike. Is all I’m saying.

But the thing about Klopp is that he accepts responsibilities as the captain of the ship even when the boat starts gaining a little water.

“I said it pretty early in the season,” said Klopp, “bad things are my responsibility and good things are the responsibility of the players.

“I thought that’s a fair deal because I have the shoulders to get it, the age to get it, the experience to get it.

“But we have to work on it. It’s not that I felt immediately it’s my responsibility. I thought: what is this? That’s really hard to take but it’s my responsibility.”

The draw to Bournemouth feels like a loss in that it was Liverpool’s own errors that kept the team from getting the full three points. The team is thin with injuries but behind the scenes things are happening for next season. Decisions. Big ones. The team will change over the summer with several new players added into a core unit with yet another season of experience together under their belt. Happy place.

Top four is a massive question mark right now. And that’s a drag. But as a counterpoint please accept this quote from Klopp:

“Tomorrow we have to take it like it is, one point more than before. It’s not what we wanted but could have been worse, actually. That’s it.”

That’s it.