Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has no regrets about leaving Daniel Sturridge on the bench for their Europa League semi-final defeat in Villarreal – and admits he’ll happily make the same decision again.
The England striker, who has scored four in his last five matches, was an unused substitute in Spain on Thursday night despite the Reds lacking a cutting edge up front and thousands of fans on social media were left bemused.
Klopp insists he has to make difficult decisions in the best interests of the team and even if he was given the chance he would still not change what he planned for the Primera Division side.
“It is about finding a stability. With decisions like this it is always two questions,” he said.
“Was it the right decision to choose this line-up? With a 1-0 defeat you cannot be sure it is 100 per cent right.
“The next question is: Would I do it again? Yes. Then it is finished and I don’t have to think about it again.
“That is my life – making decisions and in the end accepting the result.
“With Daniel in particular it is not about how it is always, it was a decision for this line-up. That is very important. It was not against Daniel.
“My job is not to do what you the media want, what the player wants, it is to try to help the player and help the team in this moment.
“I always try to do my best and because I am not perfect maybe it sometimes does not work. But next time I will try it again.”
Klopp on Sturridge form
The 26-year-old is likely to return to the team for Sunday’s trip to Swansea and Klopp has no doubts the striker will be at the top of his game.
“The mentality of Daniel is really good, very confident, because he has all these qualities and he knows about these qualities,” added the German.
“Daniel came back from injury and now he is fit for the longest period [for a long time]. That is very important.
“We could have let him play in the first few weeks, hoping he could do something special, but that would not have been the right decision for him because then he would have been injured again.
“It does not work. The Premier League, Europa League, everything is too intense.
“It is about balance absolutely always. I’ve said a few times that I always think more about the strengths of a player than the weaknesses.”