SEAN Rogers and Ben Johnson join Neil Atkinson to dig deep into Jürgen Klopp’s mind on this week’s Tuesday Review as they look back at his choices for the games against Villarreal and Swansea City.
First off, it’s the question that has been top of the Liverpool FC agenda every since – why did he choose to keep Daniel Sturridge on the sidelines in Spain and start him at Swansea?
Jordon Ibe’s return from cold storage was also odd – what does that move tell us about his Liverpool future?
The panel also get into tactics – was Liverpool’s game plan right in Spain? How will it change when Villarreal come to Anfield?
Then it’s Swansea in depth; what went wrong and why.
The Tuesday Review is a considered in-depth discussion of Liverpool’s last match introducing talk around tactics and selection. It’s just one of a string of shows on TAW Player, our subscription podcast service that offers more than 30 shows about Liverpool FC every month. Find out more here.
Here’s a free clip of the latest Tuesday Review where Neil, Sean and Ben discuss how the Red’s can overcome Villarreal on Thursday night.
Great show as usual.
I do think there is a different aspect the Daniel Sturridge saga that is being missed. The guys talked about Klopp wanting to keep DS as one of our 4 front-line strikers for 2016-17, and as much as Klopp clearly has his doubts about DS I think that’s probably correct. But what about what DS himself wants?
Thing is, this third-way, ‘use him as an impact sub after 60’ lark – whatever the merits of it (and I think they are hugely overstated) – is not something DS is going to swallow. 43 league goals in 67 games is supposed to earn you more than a place on the bench, so all this ‘should he start / should he come on?’ will soon be moot; he simply won’t be here if it’s the latter. He’s too good to warm any bench and there are clubs currently better than us who would guarantee him first-choice status if he joined them.
Now, if Klopp has been given medical advice that tells him DS is unusually fragile then I can understand wanting to get rid of him however well he might be playing when fit. A player who cannot be relied upon to play more than half a season is not much use to anyone. That still doesn’t explain why when he is fit Klopp isn’t playing him, unless the plan is to wait until the transfer window opens and he can bin him off. As Sean said in the pod, Klopp may well have his own tactical reasons for keeping Sturrdige back in some of the biggest games of the season, but that takes me back to my original point which is that DS has no interest in playing that role at LFC and, to be fair, if I had his goal-scoring record I don’t think I would, either.
Now, I doubt I’ve worked something out that Klopp hasn’t, so unless he and DS have had a chat about the way the remainder of this season would work out and agreed different plans for next season, I can only surmise that Klopp would be happy for Sturridge to leave in the summer. We know he’s not a big fan of two up top (which suits DS best) and doesn’t really fancy DS as his one, so his current treatment of the player hints at a plan to replace him. Nothing else makes sense as DS will not tolerate being the striker who comes on at 60 to change things.
Klopp has the reputation he does because he is very, very good at his job, but none of that is ever going to convince me that selling DS is the right thing to do (absent the adverse medical prognosis mentioned earlier). DS is a world-class striker with a hit-rate that rivals the very best in the EPL, and is a scorer of every type of goal. You do not replace that sort of talent easily, and certainly not cheaply.
Of course, Klopp may have Gotze, Reus and Hummels lined up in which case forget all the above. The fact remains that selling Sturridge’s goals when you have a team core that sees an underwhelming goal return from midfield is a massive, massive gamble. Even proven goal-scorers can take time to adjust to a new club, so if DS leaves and goes on to great things while we languish, that Klopp reputation is going to take a bit of a battering, and (to my mind mind at least) a totally avoidable one one at that.