By Richard Parks
Jurgen Klopp has highlighted how Liverpool were over-reliant on Philippe Coutinho when they were thrashed at Tottenham earlier in the season.
Klopp’s side were torn apart by Spurs at Wembley in October when they lost 4-1 and struggled to cope with the intensity of their top-four rivals.
The Liverpool manager has explained how the players were guilty of relying too much on Coutinho rather than trusting themselves and one another.
“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 – maybe he has an idea,” said Klopp, as quoted by the Guardian. “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.
“That is what we did to Phil and now we do it with other players. We work for each other, they didn’t change attitude, they were smart enough to use Phil in a specific moment and now they use each other in a specific moment. There was one 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. Now we play with whoever plays and they are really good and sometimes it makes sense to pass the ball from one to the other and create a gap, run into the gap and use the chance.
“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.”
Football Insider verdict:
Klopp is not saying that Liverpool are a better side without Coutinho. That would be a few steps too far. But he is correct in pointing out that other players have had to take more responsibility following the sale of the Brazilian magician and trust each other to produce the goods. The results since Coutinho left have been impressive, five wins – including memorable ones against Manchester CIty and Porto – a draw and two defeats. The football has been even more so, with the front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino especially devastating. No team will want to face Liverpool at the moment, and that is testament to the side that Klopp has built.
In other Tottenham transfer news, the club have agreed terms to sign up a midfielder in a deal which Daniel Levy shook hands on two months ago.