Jurgen Klopp must settle on a starting XI in order to bring lasting success to Liverpool because the manager cannot rely on the Anfield crowd to be the 12th man every time.
If there is one thing that this topsy-turvy season has taught everyone is that, as in the case of Leicester City, it is better to have a settled starting XI than a large squad that needs tinkering with every match.
The Liverpool starting XI that sunk Villarreal’s ‘yellow submarine’ in the Europa League semi-final second leg did not include the likes of; Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Lucas Leiva, Christian Benteke, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Divock Origi, Jordan Ibe, Danny Ings and John Flanagan. These are ten players who would want to be considered starters for the Reds.
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These are ten players who would want to be considered starters for the Reds.
Klopp’s team is certainly bonding well and may not need too many reinforcements in the summer. The players need to practise together in training rather than competing with each other for a starting place. To play to individual strengths and protect teammates’ weaknesses. To practise defending set-pieces like Leicester’s Wes Morgan and Robert Huth.
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Ex-manager Brendan Rodgers already had Luis Suarez when he took Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool and although he wanted to play with only one striker he had to develop a formation that included both players.
Sturridge is Liverpool’s best striker without a doubt and, if fit, should play on a regular basis. If Klopp rates Origi so highly, and understandably so, then the two must play together.
Speaking after the semi-final victory, the German said: “You all see now when Daniel Sturridge is fit, he is an unbelievable striker. Everybody knows this but even he needs players to play with.”
The summer transfer window should be about allowing those not in the starting XI to leave if they want to. The aim should be to achieve a settled starting XI who are fit enough to play the required number of matches without excessive tinkering.
Klopp added: "Everyone spoke a lot about this team before I came here. It was all about quality and not good transfers. I came here because I thought they had a nice squad and now we are in the final."
Indeed, the Liverpool men on the bench need to be happy to sacrifice themselves for the team but ready to come on and make the difference; just like the Foxes’ super-sub Leonardo Ulloa. If Leicester can win the Premier League this season then so can Liverpool next year.
All Klopp needs to do is to pick a team of eleven players and stick to it.
What can Jurgen Klopp achieve at Liverpool next season? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!