Having benched Roberto Firmino in midweek for the Reds’ Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in midweek, the Brazilian was reinstated in place of the winger against Dean Smith’s side, with the in-form Diogo Jota retaining his place alongside Mohamed Salah.
The Senegal international, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, has endured a below-par season like many of his team-mates, and has scored just once for Liverpool in the Premier League in 2021.
And following a particularly challenging showing against Madrid, Klopp made the difficult decision to bench Mane against the Villans.
“The incidents that the media brought up in that moment, about Sadio not scoring, it’s the situation and you have a look at who’s performing and how does it work together,” Klopp told Sky Sports before the game.
“Where does Bobby play and more obviously Diogo.
“How can he do, how can we set up a midfield with the right level of aggression.
“But as well football-wise, make sure we’re playing in the right spaces, all these kinds of things.
“That’s what you consider when you think of the line-up, so no I didn’t have to do it (drop Mane) but today I did it.”