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Reds more unpredictable without Coutinho: Klopp

By Adrian Rutherford

Jurgen Klopp believes his Liverpool side have become more unpredictable without Philippe Coutinho, with players learning to shoulder extra responsibility.

The January departure of the Brazil international to Barcelona for £142million was predicted by some to bring about some major problems for Klopp, but the opposite has been true.

Since he was sold, Liverpool have scored 22 goals in eight matches, winning five, drawing one and losing two (once in the FA Cup), and have beaten runaway leaders Manchester City and hammered Porto 5-0 to virtually secure a Champions League quarter-final place.

"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," said Klopp ahead of the visit of Newcastle.

"There was one example of a bad game from us when we gave all the responsibility to Phil and it was Tottenham away (a 4-1 defeat). We cannot do that any more.

"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.

"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."

Since that defeat to Tottenham in October, Liverpool have lost just once in 19 Premier League matches, allowing them to close within two points of second-placed Manchester United.

Klopp hopes that form will persuade the likes of star performers Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are already being linked with big-money moves to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, to sign long-term contracts and be part of his "interesting football project".

While Pep Guardiola's City remain out of reach this season as they are 18 points ahead of the Reds, the German believes they can catch up in the future if the squad remains intact.

"Our job is to create something that everyone wants to be part of," said Klopp.

"We can come close and when you can come closer you can overtake."

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