March 2, 2018 / 4:43 PM / 18 days ago

Soccer: Liverpool have stepped up since Coutinho's exit, says Klopp

(Reuters) - Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp says his team has become less predictable since the sale of Philippe Coutinho as his players are now sharing responsibility between themselves.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool vs West Ham United - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - February 24, 2018 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the match REUTERS/Peter Powell

Coutinho completed his move from Anfield to Barcelona in January in a deal worth 142 million pounds ($196 million) but Liverpool have maintained their impressive run of results with just one defeat in their last 19 Premier League matches.

Klopp believes the team’s tactics were often channelled through Coutinho but other attacking players are now stepping up in his absence.

“On a good day it makes you more unpredictable if you don’t have this dominant player but on another day you miss a player like that,” the German manager told a news conference on Friday.

“Phil Coutinho was a very dominant player in our game and when we were not at our best it was always a good idea to give him the ball, maybe he has an idea.

“But it was always clear when Phil didn’t play we had to do the job differently, to put responsibility on different shoulders and spread it between the players.”

Liverpool sit third in the league table, two points behind second-placed Manchester United ahead of Saturday’s visit by Newcastle United.

Klopp said he is pleased with the team’s progress over the season despite trailing runaway leaders Manchester City by 18 points with 10 matches remaining.

“This is a really interesting football project. I’ve felt like this since I was in,” he added.

“If you can only be happy if you have one more point than them (City) that would be difficult for any other team in the world at the moment.

“You can’t have 57 points if everything is wrong, a lot of things are really positive. If we use our situation we can come close and when you can come closer you can overtake – not only a car but a football club.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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