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Klopp: Keita substitution was purely tactical

Jurgen Klopp has sprung to the defence of Naby Keita following Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

 

It was a surprise to see the Guinea international selected in the starting line-up ahead of Thiago Alcantara, especially when you take into account that he has been on the periphery this season due to injury and illness issues.

 

So this rare start in his 16th appearance for the season was the perfect chance for the 26 year-old to make a significant impression in a very important game.

 

Instead as has so often happened in his Liverpool career to date, Keita flattered to deceive and was replaced before half time which barring a injury substitution, is a very rare move for Klopp to make.

 

But speaking after the game (per the Official site), the German was at pains to explain that the 2-0 deficit that the team was facing at the time was not the direct fault of the midfielder.

 

“It was tactical, it was tactical. That’s now things I don’t like in the job, stuff like this. 

 

"You do that and then it’s like the one player is responsible for the performance of the first half. 

 

“Naby was not responsible for that. He didn’t play for a while, especially not from the start, and these kind of things. 

 

“We were not good in the game, Naby was not good in the game but we all saw the game so to be honest I could have made a few more changes in that moment. 

 

“So it was not about Naby but I did it and I am now not happy about it because we talk about it like it was Naby’s responsibility. It was not. But it was tactical, that’s it.

 

“ I could have done a few more changes in that moment and thank God I didn’t."

 

The Reds certainly picked up their performance in the second 45 minutes with a Mo Salah strike halving the deficit six minutes after the break, but Vinicius Junior put the game to bed fourteen minutes later grabbing his second for the game and the Reds facing an almighty challenge in the second leg.

 

Klopp was not only disappointed by the overall performance, but that the treatment that dished out to Sadio Mane on the night was not properly dealt with by the referee.

 

“The situation with Sadio, what the ref did tonight I have to say I don't understand.

 

“For me that was something personal because he dealt with the situation with Sadio, which was a clear foul, like he was a diver or whatever.

 

"From that moment on whenever Sadio went down he didn't get anything. That is not right. That is what I told him after the game, that I thought he was unfair with Sadio.

 

"That doesn't change anything at all. He [the referee] didn't lose the game. We were not good enough to get a better result, but in these moments you need just an 'OK' ref. That would have been enough."

 

Liverpool are certainly no strangers to coming back from seemingly impossible situations, however Klopp knows this will be a different challenge to what they faced two years ago against Barcelona.

 

“If you want to have some emotional memories, you watch the Barcelona game back and 80% of this game was the atmosphere in the stadium, I would say. We have to do without that.

 

“It’s not that I sit here and think comebacks are our thing and that we do that all the time.

 

“We have from time to time, but we always had supporters in the stadium. We don’t have that this time.

 

“I don’t know if we can do it, but I can promise we will give it a proper try.

 

"The boys really want it. Today in the first half we couldn’t and for whatever reason we didn’t, and that’s what we will look to find out, to change, and to go again."

 

 

 

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Edited by TLW


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Klopp's right that he could have taken any of them off as they were stinking the place out. Naby though was such a timid presence and his performance was neither here nor there. With and without the ball there was nothing. Sadly the Aquilani comparisons are looking accurate. Naby's been here for 3 years now and he doesn't seem to have improved in all that time. He looks nothing like the dynamo he was at Leipzig.

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Absolutely love Jurgen but he's thrown Keita under the bus here. As I said last night, I was surprised a player who hasnt played recently started this game. We all know Keita is lightweight, we all know he has produced rare flashes of his form in the Bundesliga yet, he started this game. That's on Jurgen.

 

I dont like seeing any of our players fail but it is clear Naby has been failing since the beginning of last season. Quite simply, Keita shouldnt have started that game last night.

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I think Jurgen was expecting Fab and Gini to hold the midfield together while Keita tried to be creative. When the first bit didn't happen Keita rapidly became a waste of space.  

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Baffling decision to start with Keita. The subs were truly bizarre too, taking off Kabak and Jota but leaving on players that were performing badly like Mane and Trent. Don't like to second guess a man like Jurgen but this season his decision making has been worrying.

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1 hour ago, Baltar said:

Baffling decision to start with Keita. The subs were truly bizarre too, taking off Kabak and Jota but leaving on players that were performing badly like Mane and Trent. Don't like to second guess a man like Jurgen but this season his decision making has been worrying.

The Kabak and Jota subs were because they played a bunch of internationals recently. 

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Klopp said he had seen him in training and he had done enough to earn a start. Thats a managers decision to make and although it didn't pay off this time, the hundreds of decisions he has made are why he is one of if not the top manager in football. Keita was given a chance to shine in the biggest game of the season so far and couldn't have looked less interested if he was in the queue for a lottery at the tesco ciggy counter. Absolutely abysmal show, showed no desire to be near the ball let alone on it and absolutely had to be hooked. Klopp will make mistakes, all managers do but he had the balls to take a risk. 

 

We showed enough in the second half to show we are a match for them. 

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2 hours ago, Bjornebye said:

Klopp said he had seen him in training and he had done enough to earn a start. Thats a managers decision to make and although it didn't pay off this time, the hundreds of decisions he has made are why he is one of if not the top manager in football. Keita was given a chance to shine in the biggest game of the season so far and couldn't have looked less interested if he was in the queue for a lottery at the tesco ciggy counter. Absolutely abysmal show, showed no desire to be near the ball let alone on it and absolutely had to be hooked. Klopp will make mistakes, all managers do but he had the balls to take a risk. 

 

We showed enough in the second half to show we are a match for them. 

Thing is, 99% of his decisions you can understand.

 

Not buying a centre back, playing Jota and Salah in the dead rubber, and starting Keita last night, you can't.

 

Klopp has had a shit season, but I'm certain he'll recover.

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8 hours ago, Scooby Dudek said:

No shock there, he is not going to throw Naby under the bus. He was always going to say tactical.

 

5 hours ago, dockers_strike said:

Absolutely love Jurgen but he's thrown Keita under the bus here. 

.

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I think it was Gerrards autobiography when he was talking about being hooked at hand time once.  He complained bitterly that he should have been given a few minutes of the second half as as a professional it’s regarded as a huge indignity to get hauled off at half time. 
to get hauled off in minute 43... ooh. Not good.

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3 hours ago, m0e said:

Thing is, 99% of his decisions you can understand.

 

Not buying a centre back, playing Jota and Salah in the dead rubber, and starting Keita last night, you can't.

 

Klopp has had a shit season, but I'm certain he'll recover.

Not buying a centre half? I'm guessing that's not all his own fault.

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4 hours ago, VladimirIlyich said:

Not buying a centre half? I'm guessing that's not all his own fault.

No idea. But he did spend 20 mil on Thiago with only 3 there. Makes you wonder.

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They do a lot of man marking and so klopp wanted a player who can take players out of the game with some dribbling. If keita plays to his potential, it looks a master stroke. But keita did what he always does when klopp gives him some responsibility and shit the bed, so we didn't get from keita what he was there to do. Klopp was right to take him off. The idea klopp has thrown keita under the bus is just nonsensical. He's shown too much trust in him for sure and I am hoping the klopp has learnt from the experience and this will be the last we'll see if keita, but knowing klopp, keita will be the 1st name on the teamsheet for Saturday. 

 

Yes, loads of players were shit - in fact we didn't get one good performance from the other midfield 2 or his replacement. But klopp rightly picked the fella who's shown no history in turning around his performance once he's started badly - Gini and fabinho very much have. 

 

All that substitution showed is what a big job klopp has on his hands in rebuilding the midfield. From the 3 that won the CL & PL, Gini is as good as gone and we need to start planning without Henderson. Henderson needs to start taking the role around the squad milner has, never far away from the starting line up in some position or other, but not the guy who's in our best possible team - he can't be relied on any more to stay fit. Thiago has shown next to fucking nothing. Jones is still very raw, I like him, but he should be on the fringes I think for at least another year. Chamberlain and Shaq, they need to go. Milner, who knows, but we can't be pinning any hope to that fella no matter how great he's been. 

 

This summer is looking tougher and tougher as 2021 rolls on. Klopp absolutely needs to start building his 2nd team. 

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1 hour ago, Barrington Womble said:

They do a lot of man marking and so klopp wanted a player who can take players out of the game with some dribbling. If keita plays to his potential, it looks a master stroke. But keita did what he always does when klopp gives him some responsibility and shit the bed, so we didn't get from keita what he was there to do. Klopp was right to take him off. The idea klopp has thrown keita under the bus is just nonsensical. He's shown too much trust in him for sure and I am hoping the klopp has learnt from the experience and this will be the last we'll see if keita, but knowing klopp, keita will be the 1st name on the teamsheet for Saturday. 

 

Yes, loads of players were shit - in fact we didn't get one good performance from the other midfield 2 or his replacement. But klopp rightly picked the fella who's shown no history in turning around his performance once he's started badly - Gini and fabinho very much have. 

 

All that substitution showed is what a big job klopp has on his hands in rebuilding the midfield. From the 3 that won the CL & PL, Gini is as good as gone and we need to start planning without Henderson. Henderson needs to start taking the role around the squad milner has, never far away from the starting line up in some position or other, but not the guy who's in our best possible team - he can't be relied on any more to stay fit. Thiago has shown next to fucking nothing. Jones is still very raw, I like him, but he should be on the fringes I think for at least another year. Chamberlain and Shaq, they need to go. Milner, who knows, but we can't be pinning any hope to that fella no matter how great he's been. 

 

This summer is looking tougher and tougher as 2021 rolls on. Klopp absolutely needs to start building his 2nd team. 

Hard to see where the funds are coming from. We could have got some money for Wijnaldum last summer but we were happy to let his contract run out. Not very clever from a supposedly smart set of owners.

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1 hour ago, VladimirIlyich said:

Hard to see where the funds are coming from. We could have got some money for Wijnaldum last summer but we were happy to let his contract run out. Not very clever from a supposedly smart set of owners.

It is hard to know where the money is coming from when we've been skint after 2 CL finals with one being a winner in 12 months. Then we have a season and a third without crowds, it must make us double skint almost bankrupt. We shouldn't be skint - our wage bill is supposedly 300m, but we turned over 500m before the pandemic - so it's pretty hard to grasp as we've paid so little off the main stand, especially as we've not really net spent on players for years, so even if we have outstanding transfer debt, that should work both ways. If we miss out on CL too, fuck me - they'll need to make players redundant. 

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9 hours ago, VladimirIlyich said:

Hard to see where the funds are coming from. We could have got some money for Wijnaldum last summer but we were happy to let his contract run out. Not very clever from a supposedly smart set of owners.

I reckon that’s down to Wijnaldum. He has so very obviously been tapped up by Fat Ronnie, don’t think the club could have done much with that one to be honest.

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