Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained why he did not start Roberto Firmino for the Reds’ Premier League clash with Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon.
Klopp’s side went into the game top of the table with a perfect record, set to face a team with just four points from four games.
Why was Firmino benched? Five things to know…
- Liverpool won their first four games of the Premier League season.
- Roberto Firmino has started all of those wins, scoring two and recording two assists.
- But the Brazilian was dropped for Liverpool’s clash with Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon, replaced by Divock Origi.
- Jordan Henderson was also switched out, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting instead.
- And Klopp has revealed the decision was made for tactical reasons rather than due to fitness issues.
Firmino had previously started all four of Liverpool’s games, scoring twice and recording two assists as well as featuring in their Uefa Super Cup win which went all the way to penalties.
But the Brazilian was dropped out of the starting XI when Liverpool welcomed Newcastle to Anfield on Saturday afternoon, with Divock Origi starting in his place.
Jordan Henderson was another player swapped out from Liverpool’s win over Burnley before the international break, replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And Klopp has revealed the changes were purely tactical, setting up the best team to try and keep their perfect start going against Newcastle.
“Of course, we have to think about these things,” he told BT Sport.
“Hendo is ready, Bobby is probably ready, but it’s not about being ready – it’s a bigger picture and we have to think about that.
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“We could have made more changes but we need the rhythm as well and it makes not too much sense. A lot of games are coming up.
“We did it with all, we respect Newcastle too much for rotating for rotating. We really want to have the best starting line-up we can have for the specific opponent and that’s what we thought is the right one.
“We could train with that group since Wednesday or so and that helps; OK, Fabinho came in a bit late but with all the others we could train since Wednesday. So that’s good and that’s what we try to use.”
Klopp praises Bruce for start to Newcastle career
Currently sitting 14th in the table, Newcastle have not had the greatest of starts under Steve Bruce. The former Sunderland manager replaced Rafael Benitez in the summer with the Spaniard leaving at the end of his contract due to disagreements with owner Mike Ashley – something which made Newcastle fans hostile towards Bruce.
But Klopp believes Bruce has started well, considering the circumstances.
“Off season it was really difficult with Rafa leaving,” he added.
“For Steve for sure a difficult job. He did fantastic so far – close games and good results as well.
“(They’re) very difficult to play. They kept pretty much the same style as last year. I think 24/25 per cent possession at Tottenham but always really good, scored a wonderful goal, defended with a big heart and good organisation.
“That’s what we had to prepare for and that’s what we did. It will not be easy.”