Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his decision to leave Daniel Sturridge on the bench as the Reds lost to Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals.
The England striker has been on a good run of form recently, but the German boss started Roberto Firmino against the La Liga club, and opted to call upon Christian Benteke from the bench despite Liverpool lacking a cutting edge.
It was a decision which many fans disagreed with, but Klopp insists he had the best interests of the team at heart, and has revealed he would make the same choice again.
“It is about finding a stability. With decisions like this it is always two questions,” the German boss said, when pressed on Sturridge’s exclusion.
“Was it the right decision to choose this line-up? With a 1-0 defeat you cannot be sure it is 100 per cent right.
“The next question is: Would I do it again? Yes. Then it is finished and I don’t have to think about it again.
“That is my life – making decisions and in the end accepting the result.
“With Daniel in particular it is not about how it is always, it was a decision for this line-up. That is very important. It was not against Daniel.
“My job is not to do what you the media want, what the player wants, it is to try to help the player and help the team in this moment.
“I always try to do my best and because I am not perfect maybe it sometimes does not work. But next time I will try it again.”
Despite missing the loss to Villarreal, Klopp has no issues with Sturridge, and the German boss raved about his attitude and mentality with the 26-year-old likely to start for the Reds this weekend.
“The mentality of Daniel is really good, very confident, because he has all these qualities and he knows about these qualities,” added the German.
“Daniel came back from injury and now he is fit for the longest period [for a long time]. That is very important.
“We could have let him play in the first few weeks, hoping he could do something special, but that would not have been the right decision for him because then he would have been injured again.
“It does not work. The Premier League, Europa League, everything is too intense.
“It is about balance absolutely always. I’ve said a few times that I always think more about the strengths of a player than the weaknesses.”