Jurgen Klopp opens up about key behind real Liverpool partnership
The Liverpool manager discusses the partnership between Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino
Jurgen Klopp says Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have to find the right balance in their Liverpool partnership.
The former Inter Milan midfielder returned to the Liverpool starting line-up on Wednesday night for the first time since his ankle injury in November.
Coutinho helped Liverpool to ease to a 1-0 win against League Two side Plymouth Argyle at the FA Cup third-round replay at Home Park.
Firmino has scored one goal in his last 10 games in all competitions as the Brazilian has noticeably struggled in the absence of his compatriot.
The ex-Hoffenheim midfielder scored five times and made three assists in his opening eight games of the 2016-17 season alongside Coutinho.
Discussing the partnership between his two Brazilian playmaker, Liverpool manager Klopp discussed the key to the on-pitch relationship between Coutinho and Firmino.
“The most important thing is that they don’t only play together, with each other, because that makes it predictable,” Klopp told his press conference on Friday.
“Good friends looking for each other – it’s not like this. They are really footballers, they don’t care, and that’s what I really like.
“If Roberto is in the best position, Phil gives him the ball, if not, somebody else gets it. That’s a real partnership. Doing always the same thing, even when it’s good, is not the right thing, so you have to mix up all these things.
“Good understanding in the team helps a lot but thank God they have a good understanding with all their teammates and not just each other.”
Liverpool finished in eighth place in the Premier League table last season after Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers back in October 2015.
The Reds signed Firmino in a £29m deal from Hoffenheim in 2015.