Jurgen Klopp’s strategy didn’t quite work out despite Liverpool beating Atletico Madrid 3-2. The boss did manage to correct things, however.
Liverpool beat Atletico Madrid 3-2 in Spain on Tuesday evening. The UEFA Champions League clash was a big one, too, as these are the two teams expected to progress from the group.
But only one can top the group and get a preferential first-round draw. Liverpool took a big step towards that with their win.
It was far from smooth sailing, however. That was, unfortunately, partly down to Jurgen Klopp’s decision before the game.
Liverpool strategy backfires vs Atletico
Klopp sprung a surprise with his lineup for this one. He didn’t make any outfield changes from the win over Watford, which meant leaving the returning Fabinho on the bench.
That was a slightly strange decision but the logic was clear. Klopp wanted to go with consistency, hoping the players would be flying after the 5-0 result.
And to be fair, he was somewhat right. Liverpool raced into a 2-0 lead with James Milner involved in the first and Naby Keita scoring a brilliant second.
Both players were on the pitch because Fabinho wasn’t, essentially. At that point, things looked good.
But they quickly went downhill. Liverpool’s midfield couldn’t handle Atletico’s trickier players and Keita, in particular, struggled badly.
Atletico scored twice before half-time and both goals featured Keita getting beat. It proved to be a real weak link in the Reds’ system and one that nearly cost them.
Klopp moved to change things at halftime. Off went Keita and on came Fabinho, who returned to his holding role.
The result was clear – Fabinho won three tackles in the second half and kept a 95% passing rate. Liverpool were suddenly a lot more secure through midfield.
Klopp did get this one wrong, then. Still, he deserves complete credit with the half-time change as it eventually led to Liverpool winning the game.
One thing’s for sure, then – Fabinho will be in the XI against Manchester United at the weekend.