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Jurgen Klopp reveals why he substituted Darwin Nunez despite needing three goals to win against Real Madrid

The Liverpool boss explained all after the game

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended his decision to bring off star attacker Darwin Nunez midway through the second half of the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, insisting that the Uruguayan was ‘not on the absolute top level’.

The Reds went into the game needing to win by three goals to force the tie into extra time, and Nunez looked like one of their most likely avenues of finding a goal. The summer signing forced Thibaut Courtois into a fine save in the first half and had three shots on target, more than anyone else in his team.

However, after 60 minutes the dangerous attacker was removed from the action (just after Mo Salah had missed a glorious opportunity to put him through on goal) much to the frustration of Liverpool fans and the confusion of those watching.

However, Klopp has since defended the move to introduce Roberto Firmino for the forward, explaining that he felt he needed more defensively as well as in attack, while reasoning that Diogo Jota needed his load managed after injury.

“Darwin looked like he was not on the absolute top level and then we need to defend that side as well because conceding a goal is not helpful in that situation,” the Liverpool boss said.

“We can change there, that’s why we did it. We wanted to mix it a little bit, that’s true. For Diogo, it was clear that he should not play now extremely long because he is still coming back from a long, long injury”

Liverpool ultimately fell to a 1-0 defeat, and a 6-2 aggregate loss, to exit the Champions League at the first knockout round and leave them with just a spot in the top 4 to play for this season.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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