Everything Klopp got right as Liverpool survive second-half scare to beat Villa
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Jurgen Klopp oversaw his Liverpool side back to winning ways on Boxing Day, as they survived a second-half scare at the hands of Aston Villa.
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring for Liverpool, and the Reds didn't look back as Virgil van Dijk doubled the scoreline. Ollie Watkins fired Villa back into the game, but Stefan Bajcetic notched late-on to ensure Liverpool took home three points.
It's the first time this season the Reds have won three games in-a-row. And Daily Star Sport are looking at what Klopp got right and wrong in the Reds' winning return at Villa Park.
Involving the wing-backs
Klopp's biggest weapons for a lot of his time on Merseyside has been the double threat of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson bombarding from full-back.
The pair were back to their best in the first period against Villa, and they even combined for Liverpool's opener. Alexander-Arnold fired a ball over the top of the defence, which met an onrushing Robertson.
The Scotsman hit the ball, first-time, across the face of the goal, where awaiting patiently was Salah, who turned the ball into the net to break the deadlock.
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Having his squad selection forced by thin squad
Klopp was forced to start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – in his first nod since February – as Liverpool's thread-bear squad was on full view.
Liverpool fans have fumed at the lack of investment from FSG – who announced before the World Cup they could sell up in the near future. The Reds' lack of investment in the summer window left Klopp with two senior attackers available.
Klopp opted with a front three, with Oxlade-Chamberlain, rather than adjust his system to play with two players up front.
Holding on with substitutes
Klopp used his substitutes well across the game – and it ultimately saved the game for the Reds as Villa threatened to draw level.
Villa had found their way back into the game through Ollie Watkins, and Klopp responded by throwing on Naby Keita to sure up the midfield. Stefan Bajcetic was then brought on to earn more minutes, while Joe Gomez added more stability in defence.
And it was Bajcetic with a composed finish that put daylight between the two sides.
Utilising Mohamed Salah
Salah has been Liverpool's main man for the best part of the last five seasons, however, the Egyptian has struggled in front of goal in recent games.
Liverpool have looked to build their attack around other outlets in recent seasons, but with the Reds struggling Klopp went back to Salah. The Egyptian was more direct – and, as a result, found himself on the end of more chances.
And his gambling in the box was rewarded with an early strike for the Reds.
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- Liverpool FC
- Aston Villa FC
- Jurgen Klopp
- Premier League
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