Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised his players for raising their game since the departure of playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
Although the German coach admitted he would rather have kept the Brazil international at Anfield, he also revealed that he is delighted that other players have revelled in the added responsibility they have been asked to take on in his absence.
“We work for each other, they didn’t change attitude and they were smart enough to use Phil in a specific moment and now they use each other in a specific moment.
“There was on 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.”
“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,” he explained.
“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.
“You can never be sure it will work but now it is a few weeks ago and I am really happy with the reaction of the boys, they stepped up.”
“Of course we were fighting for Phil, we wanted to keep him here and in the end he decided differently,”
“If you see Barcelona playing in a specific moment they give the ball to Messi: that is a good idea and I would do the same. That is what we did to Phil…but now we do it with other players.
“I am happy it has worked so far pretty well. Now we play with whoever plays and they are really good. 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.” Klopp said.
Liverpool have been in sensational form in recent weeks, and currently sit in third position in the Premier League. The Anfield club also look all but certain to reach the quarter-final of the Champions League, after they destroyed Porto 5-0 away in the first leg of their last 16 clash.
Klopp’s men face Newcastle tomorrow in Saturday’s evening game, knowing victory will see them once again leapfrog Manchester United into second, with Jose Mourinho’s men travelling to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Monday.