Jurgen Klopp made sure Liverpool beat RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday with a perfectly-timed switch.
The Reds only just beat Salzburg 4-3 at Anfield. It was an incredible game – but it certainly didn’t reflect too well on Liverpool.
Klopp’s side had a 3-0 lead inside 37 minutes but had thrown it all away by the hour mark. That’s clearly not good enough and needs to be addressed but credit needs to go to Klopp for the win.
Erling Haaland scored the equalising goal on 60 minutes and the Liverpool boss lept into action.
Klopp introduced James Milner two minutes later and Divock Origi just two minutes after that. Five minutes later, the Reds are back in front.
So how did he do it?
Klopp used the substitutions to change things around. First, he reverted to a two-man shield in front of the defence with both Fabinho and Milner. That helped slow Salzburg down – the number one issue at the time. The Austrians were creating chances and getting in behind, making the one-man-block of Fabinho look insufficient.
But he also changed the forward line. Origi moved left, Sadio Mane to the right, and Roberto Firmino dropped back a little.
That meant Mohamed Salah could play off the shoulder of the defender in a poacher’s role. It isn’t the best system for the team but it gets the best out of Salah’s instincts.
And we saw why just minutes later as Salah got onto a flick-on from Firmino to fire home the winner.
Klopp made the perfect, necessary change and that’s what eventually beat Salzburg in the end. While the team’s performance certainly raised eyebrows, Klopp deserves credit for his impact.