Jurgen Klopp has once and for all nailed the ‘lie’ he has no Plan B.
We’ve seen boss Klopp has adopted an ‘up and at ’em’ approach in the last few weeks, insisting his side “must forget they are Liverpool ” and instead “win ugly” to ensure they get over the line to deliver Champions League football next season.
That has prompted many critics to crow that his preferred ‘Gegenpresse’ style is too demanding on the Reds and that the manager has abandoned his philosophy because the Premier League is too tough to be totally gung-ho.
Klopp though, not only rejects those claims, but also dismisses the idea that he can only play one way.
As he prepares for another battle at West Brom on Sunday – and contemplates a back three to counter his physical rivals – he insisted he has no respect for those lumping him in with Pep Guardiola as coaches who cannot adapt.
“If somebody speaks to me about Plan A or Plan B, I don’t really understand this. It was never the case – actually I lose a bit of respect if people say things like this,” he said.
“In this season we had a lot of possession and won games against team like Hull and Leicester. Brilliant football, was not the highest intensity, pressing or whatever. It was football at its best or whatever.
“When you go back and look at my teams with Dortmund in 2012 or 2013 it was not all pressing and counter-pressing, we played football and won games and all that stuff. This season (we lost games) not because we didn’t have a Plan B but it was about having difficulties in different games.”
Liverpool took on Stoke with a more physical approach and a three-man central defence last weekend, and it worked… eventually , with the Reds showing massive character to come from a goal down to snatch a huge win.
Klopp has suggested that his team don’t always need to go on the all-out offensive, and can instead “surprise a few teams” by instead sitting deep, defending tough and hitting on the counter.
He could well do the same at the Hawthorns, but the German insisted that he hasn’t changed in recent weeks – but has always had that adaptability in his philosophy because opponents are scared of his side.
“We didn’t adapt in the last few weeks, we did it from the first day of the season,” he said, with particular venom.
“We knew at the beginning of the season that we are Liverpool obviously and where we go and who comes to Anfield will sit back a little bit. Pretty much all the teams are doing it. Maybe apart from City, maybe Tottenham, that’s it.
“We knew we have to adapt to this.
“Yes, in the first few weeks and months when we came in we didn’t speak too much about this because we had to learn to work together, but since then everything is fine.
“We could have done better, right. It wasn’t about plans or anything else. I don’t think in this category.”
While Liverpool have been forced to shuffle their pack because of injuries, and will still be missing Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane for the weekend, they at least have their Brazilian stars fit and available from the start.
And Klopp believes the break he gave them last week, with Philippe Coutinho ill and Roberto Firmino exhausted, will work wonders.
Jurgen Klopp gives updates on Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana
Asked if his Samba stars are okay, he replied: “Phil absolutely, but Roberto I would say we still have to manage.
“I know how it sounds when I say he was really ‘done’ after the Bournemouth game then it’s ‘professional, money and all that’. What is clear with Roberto is that he always gives everything.
“In the Bournemouth game he was different, not really fresh. After the game we had to think about it. It’s still a little bit like this.
“I’m pretty sure both will be fine for the weekend.”