Jurgen Klopp made arguably the bravest risk of his Liverpool career on Tuesday. The boss caught everyone off guard with one decision.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made possibly the bravest risk of his Liverpool career so far vs Ajax. It’s certainly difficult to think of a time he took such a risk.
The boss started Caoimhin Kelleher in goal, leaving Adrian on the bench in the absence of Alisson Becker. That’s staggeringly brave.
This wasn’t just a throw-away game, after all. Victory would mean some season-saving positives.
First and foremost, qualification from the UEFA Champions League group. That’s obviously a plus in of itself.
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But it would also have meant the game against FC Midtjylland next week was a dead-rubber. That’s a midweek break, then, if Klopp wants to rest the stars.
And it would be a midweek break at a vital time. Liverpool need rest with a busy December made worse by a depleted squad.
A bad December could lead to season-halting injuries. It could leave Liverpool simply too tired to compete, in fact, or leave them behind in the title-race.
Victory, then, was so important.
Which is why starting the unproven Kelleher over Adrian’s experience was an enormous risk. Say what you want about the Spaniard but at least you know what you’re getting – he’s played these games before.
Kelleher, though, just hasn’t. He went into it with so many questions over his head.
Can he handle pressure? Can he handle the spotlight? Can he command an area with experienced pros? Is he even good enough at this level?
But Klopp decided to find that all out in a vital game. It was an incredibly brave decision – and one that paid off.