Jurgen Klopp explains Liverpool’s pre-planned sub – then “momentum changed again”

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that one of his much-maligned substitutions against Arsenal was always “clear” during the 3-1 defeat.

The Liverpool boss came in for rare criticism for his changes at the Emirates, with the decision to remove Trent Alexander-Arnold, in particular, raising eyebrows.

It transpires that that substitution was always in the script, with Klopp explaining after the game that it was “never planned” for his vice-captain to complete the full 90 minutes.

“From the start, it really didn’t look like our day but we could have turned it into our day,” said the boss as he looked back on the contest.

“The start of the second half was really good. The game was proof momentum makes.

“We didn’t play enough football and needed to get used to each other like the right-sided triangle was tricky to find.

“Second half we were there, we understood the game and had the momentum. We made changes as well around that time.

“Trent was never planned that he would play 90 minutes and it was clear we would have to take him off earlier.

“It all could have worked but the 2-1 wasn’t great, momentum changed again, the stadium was there still kind of an open game but the red card made it really tricky to come back.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 4, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was only Alexander-Arnold’s first league start since New Year’s Day, having made his return from a hamstring injury as a substitute in the FA Cup victory over Norwich a week earlier.

He was also restricted to a cameo in the 4-1 victory against Chelsea, with the tragic passing of Conor Bradley‘s father causing him not to travel with the squad despite having been in impressive form at right-back.

Liverpool’s No. 66 has been instrumental as a creative outlet in recent years, and the fact the side registered just one shot on target underlines the lack of impetus on display.

That said, it is clear that the manager did not wish to rush the 25-year-old back and was merely taking a cautious approach to his recovery.