Jürgen Klopp has told fans to expect a strong side when Liverpool take on Porto next week in the second leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tie despite the fact the Reds have already all but advanced thanks to a 5-0 first leg victory.
Citing Arsenal’s stumble against Östersund in the Europa League last week—the Gunners lost the second leg but advanced on aggregate—Klopp says it will be a strong side for Newcastle on the weekend, then Porto, and then against Manchester United.
“Another week now for Newcastle, then Porto and United in one week,” Klopp said. “All the people before the Porto game will tell me, ‘Now you can rest him, him, and him.’ That’s the situation. We will play a strong side against Porto and a strong side against United.”
A strong side doesn’t mean no rotation given no side in the Premier League has made more changes this season than Klopp’s Liverpool. That means it’s almost certain the same midfield and defence won’t play the next three games for Liverpool.
If anything, one would expect three different midfield and defensive units to be the more likely option. If there’s a question, it’s in attack, the one place Klopp hasn’t tended to make many changes this season, sticking to Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mané.
Any other changes can be written off as Klopp’s now standard rotation, but it will be interesting to see if one of the trio rests against Newcastle and then perhaps two of them sit out against Porto mid-week in preparation for next week’s United match.
“Arsenal for example, that’s so unfair,” he added. “They were through in the tie and had a final on Sunday yet I only hear after the game things like, ‘wow that was embarrassing against a Swedish team.’ But they are through in the tie and played a final on Sunday.”