Jurgen Klopp has explained the reasons behind his decision to start Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino together at Manchester City, saying ”you have to be brave” to get a result at Etihad Stadium.
Eyebrows were raised when Klopp decided to select all four of his attacking players for the clash with Pep Guardiola’s side.
Mane and Salah are undisputed first choice, but the Reds boss has tended to rotate Firmino and summer signing Jota so far this campaign.
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Portugal forward Jota has made a fine start to life at Anfield since his £41 million ($53m) move from Wolves in September.
The 23-year-old has scored seven goals in 10 appearances for the club in all competitions, with six of those coming in his last four matches. That includes a hat-trick in the 5-0 Champions League win at Atalanta in midweek.
That display in northern Italy meant his inclusion in the starting line-up for the City game was not unexpected, though the presence of Firmino in what was effectively a front four was something of a surprise.
Speaking about the decision before the game, Klopp said he needed to throw caution to the wind in order to give his side the best chance of securing a result.
“I thought it made sense," he told Sky Sports. “We had a couple of days to recover, couple of days to train, couple of days to prepare and that’s the line-up we decided to go for.
"I wanted quality on the pitch in different areas. If you want to get something here you have to be brave.
“That’s an offensive line-up but if everyone is doing their job it’s an even more solid defensive formation, so we will see.”
The quartet were also named in the starting XI for Liverpool’s clash against Sheffield United last month, with Firmino and Jota on target in a 2-1 win.
Klopp says he was pleased with what he saw during that game, but insists it had no bearing on his selection for Sunday’s clash.
“Second half, yes. Second half I liked it, we got more and more naturally," Klopp added.
“But it’s a completely different game, obviously, different areas to play for so that was not an example we used.
“It’s just for us, in the moment, looking to use fresh legs and who is in shape, performing and stuff like this so that’s why we decided it like this.”