'I made mistakes': Klopp wishes he'd made one change at Liverpool last season
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

'I made mistakes': Jurgen Klopp wishes he'd made one change in January

Jurgen Klopp wishes he’d made a change at Liverpool back in January. The Reds endured a miserable campaign where little went their way.

Last season was one Liverpool fans will never forget. It started with great hope of retaining the Premier League title and then quickly turned around.

Virgil van Dijk suffered a season-ending injury just a few weeks into the season. Joe Gomez then matched him not long afterwards. Both Thiago and Diogo Jota picked up bad injures before the halfway point, too.

Somehow, Liverpool were top at Christmas but things fell apart quickly. They couldn’t buy a win with their misshapen side as players continued to drop like flies.

Jurgen Klopp was left with impossible decisions to make. Should he prioritise having his best players in every position? Or was having as many good players on the pitch as possible more important?

Klopp went with the latter, moving Fabinho and Jordan Henderson into the centre-back roles as Joel Matip picked up a problem in January. An injury to the captain ruled him out post-February, however, and Klopp needed to think again.

Ozan Kabak came in from Schalke 04 to play as a natural centre-back but Liverpool didn’t improve all that much. What really fixed things, however, was moving Fabinho back into midfield.

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With that defensive shield, Klopp could rely on the likes of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams. Two wildly inexperienced players but players who knew the style of play.

Results picked up with those two at the back and looking back, Klopp thinks he should have done that earlier.

How Klopp would change last January

“I learned a lot,” he said, per Liverpoolfc.com. “I made mistakes, so it’s easy for me to look back and think, ‘That was wrong, that was wrong…’

“But in the moment when we made decisions, when we put the midfielders back and then played without protection in midfield, last line deeper, not really compact in a lot of moments, maybe we should have just played Rhys [Williams] and Nat [Phillips] completely together earlier and trusted the boys more.

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“In that moment I thought they were not ready, later on they were ready and they could both play, no problem, no doubt about that. That would have given us a bit more stability in other areas.”

In hindsight, that’s exactly what should have happened. Liverpool got away with it, though – they finished in the top four regardless. Making the change earlier may have got them second but the title was still out of reach.

And honestly, Klopp learning something from the whole ordeal is as good as things could have gone. Liverpool got their Champions League qualification, which saved the season – the fact the boss now has more faith in his squad is a wonderful bonus.

Next time, Klopp will be prepared.

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