Klopp will keep rotating to cope with intensity and injuries

By Sports Desk October 30, 2020

Jurgen Klopp will keep rotating Liverpool's players to survive the intensity and demands of a schedule that has left his squad blighted by injuries.

Liverpool head into Saturday's Premier League clash against West Ham with several players absent as the routine of back-to-back midweek and weekend games takes a toll.

Klopp is set to have just one senior centre-back – Joe Gomez – available after Fabinho limped out of their midweek Champions League win over Danish side Midtjylland with a hamstring problem.

The Brazilian was filling in at the heart of defence after a long-term knee injury sustained by Virgil van Dijk and ongoing fitness problems for Joel Matip following the Merseyside derby.

Teenager Rhys Williams came off the bench to replace Fabinho and is poised to be handed a Premier League debut against the Hammers at Anfield, when the Reds will be hoping to equal their longest unbeaten home run in league matches by making it 63 without defeat.

Liverpool are also set to check on the fitness of midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita as they continue to recover from knocks.

"We have to try to get through this period. If you look at October it is like a normal November or December," Klopp said at a media conference on Friday.

"We have the intensity of the most hectic schedule. We have this every year in December, but we have it now which is why we make these decisions, and we will make them.

"Fab is not in, that's clear. He got an injury and so he will be out for the weekend and probably slightly longer.

"Both Naby and Thiago are on a good way, that's how it is with rehab or recovery. You saw the incident, how it happened, with Thiago so that obviously needs now a little bit of time to settle.

"Nobody can say exactly how long because nothing is ruptured and nothing is broken or stuff like this. He's desperate to make the next steps.

"If he will be ready, we will see. Same with Naby, just a different kind of injury I would say."

Klopp confirmed his decision to withdraw Liverpool captain Henderson at half-time against Midtjylland embodied the kind of squad rotation which will be necessary in the coming weeks.

"Jordan does not have a fitness problem. It's just I can count a little bit – I can count the games Jordan has played," Klopp continued.

"My job is to use the squad in the best possible way. That's what I try to do. For Sheffield United, we changed slightly so it's possible that we'll do similar at weekend.

"It depends on who we have available and what would make sense against specific opponents.

"It's a challenge but that's how it is. We don't complain, it's just the situation."

Klopp, meanwhile, said he will relish finding a solution to Liverpool's defensive problems in the absence of key players.

He added: "Maybe enjoying isn't the right word, but long ago I discovered life is challenge.

"Problems are only there to find solutions, and yes the solutions I am excited about them that's true. I see the challenge in the situation, there's an opportunity that's true.

"We play football games every few days so that is a challenge. We will make the best of it."

Related items

  • Guardiola sees more Man City opportunities ahead for 'special guy' Stones Guardiola sees more Man City opportunities ahead for 'special guy' Stones

    Pep Guardiola praised "special guy" John Stones and said the defender was set for further opportunities with Manchester City.

    Stones started alongside Ruben Dias in the centre of defence as City booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 win over Olympiacos on Wednesday.

    The 26-year-old won all five of his duels and his three clearances were a team-high.

    While the defender has made four appearances in European competition, he has been limited to just one in the Premier League – against Wolves in September.

    But Guardiola expects Stones to get more chances for City after finding some form.

    "At the end I judge the players on what they do right now, in the present. John played with Ruben, they played well," the City manager told reporters.

    "I'm happy, especially, especially, especially, happy with John because he's a special guy for me. We arrived together here, we spend all the time together.

    "He was injured, had personal issues and now he's settled again, with his confidence and performance like last time he will have chances to show his quality in this team."

    Dias, meanwhile, has settled quickly at City after arriving from Benfica in September, making nine starts in all competitions.

    As City prepare to host Burnley on Saturday, Guardiola praised the defender's form.

    "Ruben is playing every week and every game because he doesn't make mistakes. He leads the line and does absolutely everything almost perfectly. That's why he plays," he said.

    "It doesn't depend on what he has done in the past and who you are in the past. We have to win in our position every three days. As a manager, when a guy plays good you have more chance [to play] of course.

    "There will be some players who are playing well but I will rotate the team so they don't get injured, they will be rotated. But with other issues when they are playing well they have more chance to continue on the pitch."

  • Pique wants Messi at Barcelona for years to come Pique wants Messi at Barcelona for years to come

    Gerard Pique hopes Barcelona can convince Lionel Messi to stay at the club for years to come.

    Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants during the close season, but ended up staying at the club.

    However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is linked with the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

    But Pique hopes Messi will remain at Barca, where he has spent his entire professional career.

    "We will have to ask Leo. It is his personal decision … and we will see what happens," the defender told Radio Marca on Friday.

    "I believe that as long as he continues to wear the Barca shirt there is always hope.

    "We hope they can seduce him so that he stays more years."

    Messi has struggled to live up to his usual form so far this season, scoring six goals in 11 games – including three in eight in LaLiga.

    He is without an assist in LaLiga, while he has created just 2.1 chances per 90 minutes – his lowest since 2012-13 (1.6). His 0.4 big chances created per 90 minutes is also the lowest since that campaign.

    It comes with Barcelona struggling in 13th in the table and awaiting a presidential election next year.

    Pique, who suffered a knee injury earlier this month, said he had previously thought about one day becoming the club's president.

    "If I see that I can contribute things that can help the club then I will decide," he said.

    "It is an illusion that I have always had, but I don't know if it will come true."

  • Klopp hopeful over Wijnaldum stay at Liverpool Klopp hopeful over Wijnaldum stay at Liverpool

    Jurgen Klopp hopes Georginio Wijnaldum extends his stay at Liverpool and the manager remains optimistic.

    Wijnaldum is out of contract with the Premier League champions at the end of the season and the midfielder has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

    Ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Klopp had no update on the Netherlands international – but he would like the 30-year-old to remain at Anfield.

    "I cannot really say a lot about that. I would be happy if he would stay here – that's maybe the only thing," he said.

    "But sitting here, I'm pretty happy with Gini. You see when you look at most of the line-ups."

    Wijnaldum arrived at Liverpool from Newcastle United in 2016 and has helped the club win the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

    Since 2016-17, Wijnaldum has missed just 11 Premier League games for Liverpool. They have won five, drawn four and lost two, a win percentage of 45.5, compared to 70.7 in the 150 games he has played.

    They have also averaged more goals for (2.2 to 1.8), fewer goals against (0.9 to 1.3), more points per game (2.3 to 1.7) with Wijnaldum during that time.

    Asked if Wijnaldum was in his best form since joining Liverpool, Klopp praised the midfielder's consistency.

    "That might be only because your memories are not that good. He played always good. That's why he played that amount of games," he said.

    "I cannot remember a lot of bad games, to be honest. He played for us in plenty of positions, different positions. He's in a good moment, thank God. Long may it continue. That's it.

    "It's good and there's nothing else to say about it, to be honest. As long as nothing is decided, everything is possible and I'm positive."

    Liverpool are second in the Premier League table ahead of their trip to Brighton.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.