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Klopp Discusses Depth and Debunks Discontent

Following a 2-1 win over Bournemouth and another promising performance from the kids, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp shed some light on his team selection process and on the happiness of his young charges.

Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Up until their recent 4-1 hammering of Stoke City, Liverpool's performances in the immediate wake of their Europa League fixtures had been a mixed bag of oversalted cashews and barely opened pistachios.  Just about palatable, but not exactly anyone's idea of a party.

Having come out as survivors of a thrilling but taxing tie against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool sought to build on their League momentum by adding another check to the win column away to AFC Bournemouth.  In the end, a carefully balanced blend of veterans and young guns accomplished the mission, keeping Liverpool within striking distance of a Europa League spot.

Although the two names who ultimately notched the goals were familiar ones, the fact that Klopp's side were able to win with a reasonable degree of comfort (nervy final minutes notwithstanding), is something of a testament to the promise offered by some of the fresher faces named to the side.

They were far from perfect - more illustrious opposition might have been less forgiving in punishing the inevitable momentary lapses in concentration or stray passes - but the younger players largely succeeded in staging their own cover band versions of the regulars' gegenpressing hits.

While the starting lineup might have raised a few eyebrows before the match, the manager was quick to dispel, during his post-match press conference, any notions that this was a case of throwing a bunch of random ingredients into the pot and hoping for the best.

"I am responsible for this line-up. Now it is easy to say, but I told the boys you can play football because if it doesn't work, they can blame me and not you.

We had no other chance to win [other than to make changes]. I said to the boys maybe sometimes rotation is for resting players for another tournament. In our case, we only rotate because the most important tournament still and always will be the Premier League, and we want to win this game. That's why we took another formation.

You cannot rest for a tournament, you can only try to find a few more fit players, that's what we tried to do for today. We have two more Premier League games before the next European game so we don't think about Europa League."

Among the surprises in the starting lineup was Jordon Ibe, who had become something of an afterthought in recent times, especially with Sheyi Ojo pushing hard to become the latest pretender to the throne vacated by Raheem Sterling.  There had been rumblings regarding Ibe's discontent, and while the young winger hardly looked unhappy on the pitch today, Klopp sought to put to rest any question of a falling out.

"Jordon Ibe [has had] not the most easy time and I have heard something that he has some problems with me or something – absolutely not. Only a few young players come up and sometimes you're in the squad and sometimes you're not. He is still a brilliant, big, big talent and good for English football. He did well today."

In the end, this was a positive reflection on the depth available within the squad and the club's commitment to renewing from within.  It's a depth that, given the rash of injuries that have occurred at the most inopportune times, has been tested more often than many would have liked.  But it's also a depth that has allowed Liverpool, at this late stage of a tumultuous season, tp put themselves in a position to challenge for a major trophy and for a spot in Europe.

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