Jurgen Klopp explains his controversial decision in Liverpool defeat

Jurgen Klopp explained his controversial pre-match decision ahead of Union SG vs Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League. It certainly made a lot of sense.

Liverpool went into their match against Union SG knowing there was nothing riding on it. Win, lose or draw, they were finishing top of the group and qualifying for the knockout stages.

That opened the door for rotation, of course. This is the busiest period of the season and you've got to rest and rotate players whenever you can. Especially for Liverpool this week, given Manchester United make the short trip to Anfield on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp did largely rest the senior players. He put out Liverpool's youngest-ever XI in European competition as he brought in several academy stars.

But the boss also started Ibrahima Konaté. That was a controversial one, especially after Joel Matip's long-term injury. Konaté is now arguably the best option to partner Virgil van Dijk but he's a player who struggles to stay fit. Starting him when it isn't necessary felt like an unnecessary risk.

Konaté did go off at half-time, though, replaced by Joe Gomez. Klopp was asked about the overall decision after the game - and explained things very well.

"We just wanted to share the intensity," he told the post-match press conference. "Do I want to play Joe Gomez for 90 or Ibou for 90? We had the chance to do 45 / 45, same in midfield [with Wataru Endo].

"These changes were planned before the game, independent of the result."

And so the feeling was that it's better to take two smaller risks with Konaté and Gomez, rather than taking one big risk by playing either for more than a single half. In the end, Klopp was proven correct as both came out of the fixture unscathed.

It was the most controversial decision of the night but one that paid off and should leave Liverpool ready for Manchester United.

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