Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained how his side have been adapting since Philippe Coutinho’s exit.
The Brazilian playmaker joined Barcelona in a £142m deal in January, in a move that could potentially have derailed Liverpool’s season. However, the Reds are flying high right now, third in the Premier League and with one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Premier League clash with Newcastle (and former Anfield boss Rafa Benitez), Klopp says that the side are now less predictable without Coutinho in the midfield:
We work for each other, they didn’t change attitude and they were smart enough to use Phil in a specific moment and now they use each other in a specific moment.
“There was on example of a bad game from us when we gave all the responsibility to Phil and it was Tottenham away. We cannot do that any more, it makes us a little bit more unpredictable with us on the pitch.
“Phil Coutinho was a very dominant player in our game and when we were not at our best it was always a good idea to give him the ball.
“But it was always clear when Phil didn’t play we had to do the job differently, to put responsibility on different shoulders and spread it between the players.
“You can never be sure it will work but now it is a few weeks ago and I am really happy with the reaction of the boys, they stepped up.”
Despite this, however, Klopp accepts that there are some games where Liverpool still miss his ability greatly:
“If you see Barcelona playing in a specific moment they give the ball to Messi: that is a good idea and I would do the same. That is what we did to Phil…but now we do it with other players.
“I am happy it has worked so far pretty well. Now we play with whoever plays and they are really good. On a good day it makes you more unpredictable if you don’t have this dominant player but on another day you miss a player like that.”
Liverpool will look to strengthen their grip on a top four place this weekend, potentially even battling with Manchester United for the Premier League runners-up spot.