Monday 26 February 2018

Jamie Carragher and everyone else left baffled by Klopp's treatment of Daniel Sturridge

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

He has gotten almost everything right since taking over from Brendan Rodgers last October but after being rocked across the jaw with a sickening sucker punch last night, ex-Liverpool players and fans questioned one particular decision made by Jurgen Klopp.

Despite being in scintillating form, Klopp opted to leave Daniel Sturridge on the bench during Liverpool's 1-0 loss to Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final first leg last night, instead starting with a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino.

And although the German manager made two attacking substitutions in search of an opening goal, it was Jordan Ibe and Christian Benteke who were called upon as Sturridge, who has scored three goals in his last three games, was allowed remain on the bench.

Liverpool bombarded the Villarreal goal but besides one shot against the post from Firmino, they couldn't create a whole lot of clear chances. The decision to leave Sturridge on the bench looked even more misguided after the Spaniards nicked a last-gasp goal when Denis Suarez teed up Adrian Lopez with a gorgeous assist to tap home an easy winner.

While Liverpool are still very much alive in the tie with the Anfield leg to come - you only need to look at the return Dortmund leg in the quarter-final to know what could happen - the failure to score an away goal could haunt them, and Sturridge undoubtedly could have helped in that regard.

Obviously, the England international has a sizeable injury record but Klopp gave no indication that the striker was carrying a knock.

Throughout the game and afterwards, a string of pundits, ex-players, journalists and fans all tried to understand how one of the in-form strikers of the last few weeks didn't feature at all on what was Liverpool's biggest game of the season.

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