Klopp makes clear his Liverpool selection mistake after brazen Keita claims

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Jurgen Klopp appeared to confirm he had made a major tactical error as he hauled Naby Keita off before half-time against Real Madrid[1].

The German manager raised eyebrows before the game when he opted to start Keita ahead of Thiago Alcantara, despite the experienced Spaniard having a recent upturn in form.

The move certainly did not pay off with Keita hauled off after just 41 minutes having given the ball away on several occasions.

Keita did not appear to be carrying an injury in what was seemingly a tactical switch and an admission of an error from Klopp with his side 2-0 down approaching half-time.

Keita and Klopp did not even exchanged a glance as he walked off to the bench and Klopp was left looking foolish after outlining exactly what he expected the 26-year-old would bring against Real Madrid.

Naby Keita was hauled off by half-time by Jurgen Klopp and did not appear to be injured
Naby Keita was hauled off by half-time by Jurgen Klopp and did not appear to be injured

Speaking to BT Sport before the game, Klopp outlined how he expected Keita to be able to exploit areas of Real Madrid’s ageing midfield.

He said: “Leaving Thiago out was not easy as well.

“It’s not just about who is out, it’s about who we can bring in and how we can get fresh legs in.

“It’s Saturday-Tuesday which is a short one, and I like the team but we have to be really clear in the things we do, because Real Madrid are cold as ice.

“They’re really very calm, very confident, they have a lot of natural quality and they are not bothered by a lot of things, so we have to keep them busy in departments they don’t like to much.

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“That’s the plan for tonight.”

Liverpool were 2-0 down when Keita had his name called before half-time
Liverpool were 2-0 down when Keita had his name called before half-time

Asked if Keita had a specific plan, a brazen Klopp declared: “Yes, he should play good, that would be nice!

“But I couldn’t avoid him any more with all the training performances. He’s been in a really good moment for a few weeks already and that’s now the result of it.

“Naby brings special things in. Real Madrid is kind of man-marking defending, so we need dribblers, you need boys who like these kinds of situations where they can turn.

“When they get a little advantage, they can make the next situation a big advantage.

“That’s what Naby’s job is tonight apart from defending, shooting, fighting, running, all these kinds of things.”

With Liverpool[2] being convincingly beaten and failing to create anything during Keita’s 41-minutes on the field, it was clear that Klopp’s desire wasn’t being fulfilled.

References

  1. ^ Real Madrid (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Liverpool (www.mirror.co.uk)

[email protected] (Rich Jones)


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