Jurgen Klopp has explained why midfielder Curtis Jones was substituted against Brentford, even though he had just given Liverpool a 3-2 lead at the Brentford Community Stadium.
The Reds midfielder scored a wonderful effort to restore the Reds’ lead for a second time, but was immediately withdrawn by Klopp in favour of another attacking option; striker Roberto Firmino.
Klopp’s decision to chase further goals would backfire – in terms of the final scoreline anyway – as Brentford substitute Yoane Wissa coolly lifted a deft dink over Alisson, pulling the hosts level to earn a 3-3 draw.
After the game, Klopp was questioned about why he took Jones off in favour of changing shape, and the German said it was a case of dealing with the direct threat that Brentford posed.
“Obviously when we decided to make the change it was 2-2, but the reason for it was the way they played, we didn’t really need a third midfielder because they only played long balls,” Klopp told his post-match press conference.
“So, we needed a clear structure around the centre-halves players who pick the ball up. When we did that, it made really sense that we had one more player between the line – changing our structure to give them another thing to think about. I actually think that worked really well.
“We didn’t score from these situations but Bobby had a few really, really good situations passing-wise, keeping the ball all the time and stuff. We had massive chances – we had even in the last second a big one. Yeah, that was the reason. We thought we should score more goals to get the result we wanted.
Klopp also reserved special praise for Jones, who is still looking to establish himself as a regular starter in Liverpool’s midfield.
“Curtis is a top player. He is still a talent but a really, really good package and you felt that tonight. I thought he played a really good game,” Klopp added.
“He won in the first half the best balls for us pretty much – he was really good in these situations. On top of that, he was involved in all football situations. He dropped in the right space, he was brave in between the lines, so many good things. But that’s football – he’s still young and consistency is then maybe sometimes a little bit of [an] issue.
“But in this moment he is in a really good moment and old enough to keep that moment going.”
Next up for Liverpool is a return to Champions League action, with a trip to Porto next up on the continental agenda.