Jurgen Klopp oversaw a big win for Liverpool as they beat Ajax 1-0. But he may have made a mistake that he’ll come to regret.
Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0 on Tuesday and Jurgen Klopp will be delighted with that. Victory means qualification from their Champions League group – but it’s more than that.
Liverpool now have early qualification from their group. The game against FC Midtjylland is now meaningless for them and Klopp can afford to rest everybody he needs to.
And that’s key. December is a packed schedule and Liverpool will tackle it with a depleted squad.
Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Thiago, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri are all currently injured. And that doesn’t include the players only just making their way back.
So Klopp will want to rest players. It could prove decisive in their title challenge, in fact.
But it also makes one decision from Tuesday look like a potential mistake. Klopp may even come to regret it.
Despite a depleted squad, Klopp only made two substitutions vs Ajax. Roberto Firmino for Diogo Jota on 68 minutes and then Rhys Williams for Mohamed Salah on 90 minutes.
Considering he had five available to him – something he’s called for – that’s quite strange.
It’s even stranger when you consider he admitted that Andy Robertson should have come off against Brighton – he just didn’t have a free sub.
We didn’t expect Robertson to even start against Ajax, let alone play the full 90. Especially when Kostas Tsimikas was on the bench and Klopp had so many subs to use.
But Klopp could have rested a whole host of players – he certainly had the ability to. Instead, he decided to keep his best players on to see out the game.
Now, there’s some real merit to that. Klopp clearly valued a rest vs Midtjylland to be far more important than substitutions.
But he could possibly have had both – he just didn’t take a chance on it.
That’s fair enough but only if those players are fit to beat Wolves this weekend. If they’re not, Klopp’s decision will seem like a mistake and it’s one he may regret come the end of the season.