Jurgen Klopp has revealed his reasoning for leaving one of his key defenders on the bench for most of Wednesday night's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, admitting that Joel Matip was struggling with a back problem.
The Liverpool boss admitted after the game that Matip could potentially have managed the full 90 minutes - eventually coming on around the hour mark - but insisted that the Cameroonian centre back was less than 100% coming into the clash.
Problem for @Lfc is Lovren & Matip always missing games, need to be tougher. 3rd choice Klavan then has to play more & eventually it shows.— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 5, 2017
"Have you ever had back problems?" He asked. "I can explain exactly how it was. He came on the pitch this morning for a little, little session. It looked good. But then he had to fix his boots and then it didn't look good.
"Obviously you can find someone in the game to fix your boot but I thought it's not 100% and this game is not 100%. We brought him on because there was another warming up and we asked again and it was then better. Yes, maybe probably he could have played 90 minutes, not sure."
Klopp blamed his side's lack of experience in closing games out for Josh King's late equaliser, admitting that they are a step short of runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea in that department.
Matip for Phil sucked the air out of the stadium... I can't imagine it didn't impact the players too— StatsAndSwearwords (@StatsSwearwords) April 6, 2017
He said: "If we were Chelsea the opponent wouldn't have had the ball three times in the last 20 minutes I wouldn't think. Yes we don't have this experience, that's right probably you need things like tonight to get that experience.
"On the other hand we probably have still scored the most goals in the Premier League so far, it's part of the game that we try to create moments all the time. We have to get more experience for sure.
"We did the system (three at the back) of course because we did not have 20 options. When did we take Phil? 60 something? It was for sure too early for Daniel in this intense game. If you take Phil off and bring another striker, Div did really well in the centre so changing that I thought would not help.
"We are normally brave in these situations and try to win but that's what we did. We thought it made sense to give one more defensive protection in the middle and still have a bit more freedom for Clyney and Millie on the wings."
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