Jürgen Klopp reveals Philippe Coutinho had to be substituted due to illness during 2-2 Bournemouth draw

Simon Hughes

Jürgen Klopp revealed Philippe Coutinho was substituted against Bournemouth because of sickness and that Joel Matip was only fit enough to be named as a substitute because of a back strain tweaked in a morning training session, which meant he was struggling to tie his own boot laces.

Liverpool dropped two points in their quest for Champions League football next season by conceding a late goal at Anfield.

Joshua King’s equaliser came after Coutinho was removed by Klopp with 25 minutes remaining, a moment that seemed to inject the visitors’ with confidence.

The Brazilian, who had earlier equalised for Liverpool following Benik Afobe’s opener, had informed Klopp that he felt ill at half time. Upon his exit he headed straight down the tunnel of the main stand but informed his manager at the end of the game that his condition had improved, meaning that surely he will be available to face Stoke City at the weekend.

Klopp reasoned that his decision to introduce Matip and enforce a tactical shift by moving to a defensive back three was borne out of the necessity for experience as Liverpool sought to maintain a lead given to them by Divock Origi’s header. Though Daniel Sturridge was selected on the bench Klopp judged that the forward should be used only for a shorter amount of time.

“With three points it would have felt completely different although it would have been the same game,” Klopp reasoned, admitting that Liverpool's performance especially in the first half could have been a lot better. “We have to take it like it is. It’s one point more than before but it could have been worse. We have lost games like this already this season so maybe we could take it as a positive.”

Bournemouth have now recorded draws at Anfield and Old Trafford this season, beating Liverpool and Everton at home. Their manager, Eddie Howe, dismissed the idea that Klopp’s Coutinho’s early departure had a profound impact on the flow of the match, believing instead it was simply a case of Bournemouth having to “throw caution to the wind at a time when Liverpool had something to protect.”

Howe credited his team’s goalscorers, Afobe and King, as “key figures in our recent up-turn in form,” describing Harry Arter and Jack Wilshere’s efforts in the centre of midfield as “huge performances.”

Ultimately, it is a result that means Liverpool remain in third, six points ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal who have two games in hand. Bournemouth, meanwhile, now sit seven points above the relegation zone.

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