Klopp: It’s about balance absolutely always

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his decision not to field Daniel Sturridge in the Europa League defeat to Villarreal, insisting he will always do what he feels is best for the team.

The German tactician has faced criticism after leaving Sturridge on the bench at El Madrigal on Thursday night, bringing on the out-of-favour Christian Benteke as the Reds suffered a last-gasp defeat in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

It has been suggested by many that Klopp should have brought on Sturridge when Philippe Coutinho was withdrawn at half-time with stomach cramps, but the 48-year-old insists he does not regret any of his decisions.

He went on to highlight the threat posed by the Yellow Submarine, saying he had to focus on containing the high-flying La Liga outfit by giving the Reds “stability” and “balance”.

“It is about balance absolutely always,” Klopp told reporters. “I think I said a few times that I always think more about the strengths of a player than the weaknesses.

“I did not think about one weakness. It was because we had to find a line-up which knows how to work together with no training because we had no time to train and how to defend against a side like this.

“After the game I was asked if Villarreal was pleased to play for a 0-0 draw and if it was only because of our performance. If somebody has time to watch a few more Villarreal games they will see they usually play completely different, they are usually much more dominant.

“You cannot be fourth in the Spanish League and nearly sure of Champions League qualification without being a real good side and playing football. It is not only about counter-attack or things like this.

“Nobody could see this really, only in a few parts of the game. We had to defend this. It is not about thinking only what we can create, what we can do.

“It is about finding a stability. With decisions like this it is always two questions: was it the right decision to choose this line-up? With a 1-0 defeat you cannot be sure it was 100% right.

“The next question is: would I do it again? Yes. Then it is finished. Then I don’t have to think about it again.

“At the end we can all think about what could have happened, Daniel from the beginning or changing it at half-time when we had to bring Phil (Coutinho) off.

“We could have put Roberto on the wing and put Daniel as a striker. I don’t know and so it is not too important. 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.”