Jurgen Klopp delighted his tactical gamble paid off as ‘fantastic’ Liverpool thrash struggling West Ham

The German swapped his usual system for a 4-4-2 formation, fast-tracked Sadio Mané back into the starting XI and played Georginio Wijnaldum for 90 minutes 

Jack Lang
London Stadium
Saturday 04 November 2017 21:53

Jürgen Klopp admits he tore up the rule book to give Liverpool the edge over West Ham on Saturday evening.

The German swapped his usual system for a 4-4-2 formation, fast-tracked Sadio Mané back into the starting XI after one training session with his team-mates and played Georginio Wijnaldum for 90 minutes despite having previously decided the Dutchman was in no fit state to feature at the London Stadium.

Each was a gamble, but they all paid off handsomely as the Reds cut through their opponents, scoring twice in either half to move level on points with Arsenal. With three wins on the spin, Klopp's men enter the international break with confidence renewed, that galling defeat to Tottenham finally fading in the rear-view mirror.

“Bringing Sadio Mané back after injury, after one session – I never did that before,” said a delighted Klopp.

“Changing the system, without proper training – yesterday was the first time we did it. Gini Wijnaldum tried to train yesterday and we said 'no chance'. We took him with us, but only to be closer to the doctor tomorrow. He had no boots with him. I'm not sure where we got them from, to be honest, but we got some.

“This week is a fantastic week. Two weeks ago, at Wembley, I felt quite different. Against Tottenham, we weren't spot on. It was my responsibility. For five or ten minutes I was really angry, and I was the next morning. We knew we were bad so we wanted to strike back.

“Now we've responded really well: the boys have [compiled] some really nice results."

Klopp was delighted his gamble paid off

The return of Mané, who set up two goals and showed no ill effects after a month-long lay-off, will have been especially heartening for Liverpool fans, and Klopp was full of praise for the forward after the game. “I decided [to start him] after one session,” explained the German.

“Sadio is a naturally fit player, a little machine.

“When we trained after Maribor, his first session on Thursday, he was stiff at the beginning but you could see he started enjoying the intensity. I asked him and he was ready.”

Hammers boss Slaven Bilić looked understandably dejected and admitted his team had been “naïve” at times, but was bullish when it came to his chances of clinging onto his job. “I believe in myself, my team and their character,” he insisted. “I'm a big fighter. I definitely don't feel like a broken man.”

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