Of the litany of issues that are as of yet unaddressed with this Liverpool squad (looking at you, defenders), one of them is not the lack of depth. Unlike recent seasons, where one or two key injuries could completely derail Liverpool’s form, this club seems better equipped to handle the stresses faced by attempting to remain competitive in multiple competitions.
Evidence of this came on Saturday against Chelsea, when Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were hardly involved in a match that the Reds very nearly won against the defending champs. Although the strategy ultimately failed on Saturday (keeping in mind that a draw against Chelsea is not a terrible result), it does give Liverpool the advantage of having the two attackers ready to face off against Stoke City tonight.
The player who got the nod ahead of Mane and Firmino was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, in an interview with the club’s official website, he spilled the beans behind how boss Jurgen Klopp is prepared to rotate players.
“He sat us down and said ‘You’re all going to be needed here,” OxChamFamBlud said, “I know people are going to be disappointed when they’re pulled out or not playing, but you’re all going to be used so make sure you’re all ready.’
“I think that’s what he proved at the weekend with his changes and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more as it does get really intense, especially when it gets close to Christmas.”
“It’s a really busy period and it’s important that all the boys are going to be fresh for as much of it as possible, if not all of it.
As we’ve seen since Sadio Mane joined in the summer of 2016, Klopp’s tactics greatly benefit from having a pacy outlet to help spring quick counter-attacks. Adding Mohamed Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer now allows Klopp some freedom in how he wants to rotate his players without sacrificing how the team plays from game to game.
Now, if we can just add some quality centerbacks in January...then we’re really cookin’.