Klopp got it ‘spectacularly wrong’ against Villarreal by leaving out someone who played 11 mins

Jurgen Klopp made a cataclysmic mistake by benching Jordan Henderson, which he remedied by bringing him on for the final 11 minutes at 3-2 up.


Beginning of the Hend
‘It seems almost unimaginable to say this after a season of inspired management and immaculate decision-making, but Klopp definitely got that call spectacularly wrong here in El Madrigal,’ writes David Maddock in the Daily Mirror of a stunning Champions League semi-final second leg.

He adds that ‘mistakes were made, but they were corrected in a brilliant tactical masterclass from Klopp,’ who introduced ‘the pace and incision of Luis Diaz’ in place of ‘the ineffective’ Diogo Jota, thus ‘bringing their play higher up the pitch, in the faces of the Villarreal players’.

But this grave Klopp error was neither in starting Jota nor benching Diaz. Not at all. Allow Maddock to explain what the German got ever so wrong:

‘He knew a tight ground produces a noise, and intimidating atmosphere beyond its size, where leadership is required…and that was missing in the absence of Jordan Henderson.’

Forget that post-match nonsense from Klopp himself about breaking the lines, “finding Naby and Trent in the half-spaces” and having a more “flexible” attack that wasn’t fixed in position; his most cataclysmic misjudgement was omitting Jordan Henderson and his ‘leadership’.

So to summarise: Klopp got it ‘spectacularly wrong’ by not starting Henderson, then ‘corrected’ this mistake not by bringing him on but by substituting Jota for Diaz at half-time. It must be why Henderson – the answer, the key to everything – came on to rescue Liverpool when they were only leading 5-2 on aggregate with 11 minutes of the tie remaining, with the atmosphere surely at its most ‘intimidating’.


Sweep take
Mediawatch appreciates that the glare of The Quadruple can be slightly blinding, but no, John Cross of the Daily Mirror – ‘a clean sweep’ is not ‘opening up for’ Liverpool ‘as they remain hot on Manchester City’s heels in the title race’. What they remain is a point behind the reigning champions, who have won their last three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 12-1, and whose run-in looks more favourable than theirs. Beating Villarreal does not change that.


Class hysteria
‘Villarreal fans showed class after Liverpool comeback destroyed Champions League dream,’ reads one of the many headlines on the Daily Mirror website.

The bar for ‘class [insert three hand-clapping emojis]’ is already at the lowest point in recorded footballing history so this should be good…

‘Yet despite the disappointment on the night, the home side’s fans were keen to show their pride in their team and the efforts they had made throughout their incredible European run. The Villarreal supporters stayed behind long after the final whistle to chant their teams [sic] name and show their pride at their side’s run through to the semi-finals.’

Absolute class. And one in the eye for those millions of people who expected Villarreal supporters to boo, heckle and throw objects at the players who had just recovered from a two-goal deficit to push one of the best teams in the world to their absolute limit in a Champions League semi-final.

Villarreal fans brought out the inflatable tube guy pic.twitter.com/b23ZPIbu1n

— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 3, 2022


Triple fist-pump
In another display of post-match class involving fans, the Liverpool Echo promise to reveal ‘What Jurgen Klopp did as stadium emptied after Liverpool reached Champions League final’.

Did he reveal a T-shirt that read ‘Justice for Jason Cundy’? Did he demand one last showdown with Des Kelly? The suspense is killing us…

‘There was a big smile towards the travelling Kop still situated high up in the stands, followed by a celebratory wave that was greeted with huge cheers.

‘And then, of course, came the party piece, the Reds boss aiming a trademark triple fist-pump towards those who had made the journey to Spain.’

Ah. He did what he always does. Righto.


Knack to the future
Join us on Martin Samuel’s journey of coming to terms with what a two-legged European knockout tie entails:

‘For a team that doesn’t often win the away legs of Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool have a remarkable knack for finding a way to get through them.

‘It was 1985 when Liverpool last won outside Anfield at this stage of the tournament. Mark Lawrenson scored the only goal of the game against Panathinaikos.

‘Yet they have now made it to six finals in that time, including this one, even if 37 years separate the wins away.’

Liverpool’s ‘remarkable knack’ is, of course, to do well in the home leg at Anfield. It’ll never catch on.


Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt
‘Cristiano Ronaldo forced to deny he told camera after Man Utd win ‘I’m not finished yet’ with future up-in-air’ – The Sun website.

He was ‘forced to deny’ it because of people like The Sun‘s own Ken Lawrence parroting lines like ‘CRISTIANO RONALDO dropped his biggest hint yet that he wants to stay at Manchester United – after mouthing: I’m not finished’ earlier in the week.


Ten commandments
‘RALF RANGNICK has declared incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag must decide whether Cristiano Ronaldo is a part of his plans’ – The Sun website.

‘Well yes’ – Mediawatch.


Mata of fact
In the same vein, the Daily Mirror website believes ‘Erik ten Hag has simple solution to keep Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd next season’.

It is apparently to sign ‘a pure playmaker, who can put a ball on a tuppence and can leave opponents dizzy’ and ‘surrounding Ronaldo with players like Juan Mata who are gifted on the ball’.

Alternatively, it is to point out that he has a year remaining on his contract and Manchester United have the option to extend that by a further 12 months.


Two wrongs don’t make a human right
‘ENGLAND fans will not be flocking to the World Cup in Qatar – you can hardly blame them. Extortionate flights, accommodation worries, plus the price of food and drink has put off many’ – Charlie Wyett of The Sun, definitely covering all of the main issues as to why supporters might be reluctant to travel to Qatar this winter.

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