Quick links


Jurgen Klopp explains why he chose to leave out Daniel Sturridge against Villarreal

The German boss talks through his decision to select Roberto Firmino in attack rather than the England international.

Jurgen Klopp has explained to BT Sport that he decided to go with Roberto Firmino in attack against Villarreal rather than Daniel Sturridge as he wanted more "stability" and felt the Brazilian would fit better into the system he was trying to play.

Klopp selected Firmino ahead of the England international to play as the spearhead of a fluid side which saw him backed up by Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana for the first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.

Liverpool's dramatic aggregate victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals was built around young striker Divock Origi leading the line, with the Belgian scoring in both legs of the tie including the crucial away goal in the 1-1 draw in the first leg.

However, with Origi injured Klopp was left to choose between Sturridge, Firmino, and the out-of-favour Christian Benteke to play up front in Spain, and he revealed why he felt Firmino was the better choice.

The German boss told BT Sport: "It was a very difficult decision to be honest. I thought about a lot of things and at the end I decided for a little more stability.

"With the 4-3-3 we did not play with Daniel until now and so we thought for today with this 4-3-3/4-5-1 very flexible style that we have played in a few games it makes sense that the players have played together before, and that's why we decided for this line-up."

In the event, Firmino was less than scintillating in attack for the visitors in Spain, giving the ball away on several occasions, although he came the closest for his side when his low shot was tipped onto the post just after the hour mark, and it was Benteke who ultimately replaced him in the dying minutes.

Though Klopp highlighted the fact that he had played the same attacking personnel in previous games, such as the devastating 4-1 win at Manchester City, in November, the decision did not seem to impress Reds legend Jamie Carragher too much.

Liverpool are looking to reach a first European final since their famous comeback victory over AC Milan in the Champions League final of 2005 in Istanbul.

The Reds will have to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the second leg at Anfield after Villarreal scored the only goal of the game in injury-time at the end of a quiet first game in Spain on Thursday night.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch