After the 2-1 win over Bournemouth and a good disciplined performance by Liverpool’s youngsters, manager Jurgen Klopp spoke of his teams selection and his delight at their achievement.
After the 4-3 win in the Europa league quarter-finals over Borussia Dortmund, Klopp made ten changes from the team that played on Thursday. A mindful of experience and youth gave Liverpool the victory over the Cherries.
Albeit the two goal scorers who were Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge, familiar first players, gave the the Merseysides the lead just before before the halftime break. The manager’s reason for so many changes was put down to tiredness. In his post-match press conference Klopp said,
“I am responsible for this line-up. Now it is easy to say, but I told the boys you can play football because if it doesn’t work, they can blame me and not you.”
“We had no other chance to win [unless we made changes]. I said to the boys maybe sometimes rotation is for resting players for another tournament. In our case, we only rotate because the most important tournament still and always will be the Premier League, and we want to win this game. That’s why we took another formation.”
“You cannot rest for a tournament, you can only try to find a few more fit players, that’s what we tried to do for today. We have two more Premier League games before the next European game so we don’t think about Europa League.”
Back in the starting line up today was Jordon Ibe, who of late has been a peripheral player especially with the emergence of Sheyi Ojo. There had been rumours in relation to Ibe’s discontent and a fall out with the manager, but the young winger look happy to be on the pitch today, and Klopp was quick to put any unrest or falling-out to bed.
“Jordon Ibe [who’s had] not the most easy time and I have heard something that he has some problems with me or something – absolutely not. Only a few young players come up and sometimes you’re in the squad and sometimes you’re not. He is still a brilliant, big, big talent and good for English football. He did well today.”
He said of the stand-in keeper, “Danny Ward was brilliant. Let the self-confidence grow of goalkeepers, they’re normal human beings.”
And of the team, “They’ve never played together. They could have defended better, played a bit more football in the first half – but it was really, really good.”
Today’s team selection was a clear reflection on the depth of this Liverpool squad and a manager that is not scared of trusting the youth players at his disposal.
Todays starting eleven: Ward; Randall, Lucas, Toure, Smith; Allen, Stewart; Ibe, Firmino, Ojo and Sturridge
Subs: Mignolet, Sakho, Flanagan, Milner, Coutinho, Lallana and Origi