During Friday’s press conference held ahead of today’s game against AFC Bournemouth, Jürgen Klopp was asked whether he was still searching for the correct balance between making necessary changes to the team, while ensuring he picks a strong enough side. This of course is something we have all been wondering, especially given our recent home draws against Everton and Wednesday evening’s lacklustre display against West Bromwich Albion. Klopp has made 65 changes in Liverpool's 17 Premier League matches so far this campaign.
The boss however has explained that his rotation policy has come about in order to prevent squad members from playing up to three matches a week, wherever possible.
“We have to make sure that we have as fit as possible players for the specific game, that’s all,” he replied.
“That’s what we did all the time, nothing else. We thought and still think that the squad gives us that opportunity and that’s why we did it, that’s pretty much all, nothing else. I can really understand, that’s normal after two draws at home, that there’s criticism out there, that’s completely normal, but I think they were two completely different games.
“The Everton game was a really good game of us, we played really well, one of the best derbies I saw since I came in [but] with the wrong result at the end so we were unlucky. To be honest, against West Brom I thought we didn’t deserve luck, really. It was not a good performance, it was not as good as we could’ve played, 100 per cent - not fluent enough, timing was not good, passing not at its best and that’s it. So yeah, it was not a good game.”
However, Klopp rejected the comment that our poor performance against 19th placed West Brom on Wednesday evening, was down to his decision to rotate the team on a regular basis.
Klopp continued: “We didn’t have a lot of not good games in the last few weeks so I cannot make this one bigger than all of the others but I don’t think it had anything to do with rotation or something like that.
“In this moment all the players, even the players I rotate, they have two games a week and we make sure that they don’t have to play all the time three times a week, that’s all.
“Because I’m sure - by the way, nobody is doing it - that in our specific case, we had a very important game against Moscow and we couldn’t think of anything. We had the line-ups of all the other teams that play Champions League and I think they were already through the group stage so they made a lot of changes [but] we couldn’t do that, so we had to think.
“It’s not about respecting the one team more or less, we respect them all at 100 per cent, so it’s not about them, it’s all about us and that was the reason.”
It is important to note that Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight matches in the Premier League (W5 D3), their longest run without defeat in the competition since 11 matches in November 2016.
At this stage I think it’s still safe to say that Klopp knows what he is doing. Keep the faith. Up the Reds!