Klavan: Introduction of 25-year old star not to blame for Liverpool woes
By Matt Bullin
Liverpool and Estonia centre back Ragnar Klavan has defended Klopp’s tactical change after the Reds drew 2-2 with Bournemouth at Anfield.
Klavan insisted that Klopp’s decision to substitute Philippe Coutinho for Joel Matip was not to blame for the late goal they conceded.
At the time of the change (in the 65th minute) Liverpool led the game 2-1 after goals from Coutinho and Divock Origi had cancelled out Benik Afobe’s early opener.
Klavan started the game alongside Dejan Lovren in the heart of defence in a back four, but Matip’s introduction saw Klopp switch to a back five.
The Estonian failed to clear the ball after a Bournemouth set-piece in the 87th minute, which allowed Josh King to slot home and steal a point for the Cherries.
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However the 31-year-old was bullish about the result and claimed that Klopp could not be blamed.
“I don’t think we sat back,” Klavan told the Liverpool Echo.
“It was just the game and we changed the formation a little bit. We’ve played it before and we knew what to do when we changed in the game.
“We defended well and were compact. They did not have any chances after that except for that one.”
Klavan has now made 23 league and cup appearances for the Reds since his summer arrival from FC Ausburg for £4million.
Despite being brought in as cover, he has started four of Liverpool’s last five Premier League games, as Matip and Lovren have struggled with injuries.
The 2-2 draw with Bournemouth leaves Klopp’s side third in the Premier League, five points off Tottenham in second, and four points clear of Manchester City in fourth.
City have a game in hand over Liverpool, but the Reds have a favourable run-in and are still expecting to hold onto a top-four spot come the end of the season.
In other Liverpool news, this fringe player has staked his claim for more game time.