Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that it was a "very difficult decision" to leave striker Daniel Sturridge on the bench in the Europa League game against Villarreal. He explained that the England international was dropped from the starting lineup to bring in more stability to his side.
Adrian's stoppage time goal was the difference between the two sides as the Merseyside club suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Spanish outfit in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final clash at Camp El Madrigal on 28 April. The German manager decided to start Roberto Firmino as the main striker, ahead of Sturridge and Christian Benteke.
"Yeah, very difficult decision [not to include Sturridge in the starting lineup]. I thought about a lot of things, but in the end I decided for a little bit more stability," Klopp said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"In the 4-3-3 we didn't play with Daniel until now, and so we thought for today this 4-3-3, 4-5-1, sometimes a diamond this very flexible style, we played in a few games before."
"It makes sense that the players played it together before, that's why we decided for this line-up," he said.
With Liverpool conceding a late goal and failing to score in the away leg, they now face an uphill task to make it to the final of the Europa League. The former Borussia Dortmund boss remains confident that the Premier League side can beat Villarreal in the return leg at Anfield and keep their hopes of winning the competition alive.
"I know and saw a lot of things that showed we can [win the second leg]. It doesn't mean that we will, but with the help of Anfield we can do a lot," Liverpool's official website quoted Klopp as saying.
"Please don't compare everything with Dortmund, but things are possible and 1-0 is not the biggest result in the world.
"I think now Villarreal know more about us and now we have more respect. We were an English team, a big name, but no quality. Now we are an English team, big name, better quality and we will try everything," he stressed.