Jurgen Klopp has insisted that Liverpool cannot afford to look ahead to Sunday’s Capital One Cup final before playing Augsburg in the Europa League.
We host the Bundesliga side at Anfield tomorrow night, with the scores still deadlocked at 0-0 after an uneventful and goalless first leg in Germany.
Klopp has stressed that the Reds must be “100% concentrated” on the second leg of our last-32 tie before we can switch our attention to Manchester City.
“It’s not allowed, we have to be fully concentrated on this game,” he is quoted as saying by the Echo.
The Liverpool manager’s words suggest that he will name a strong lineup against Augsburg rather than hold back key names such as Daniel Sturridge for Wembley.
And he has indicated that those who perform and help us to ensure our progress to the next round in Europe could be rewarded with cup final starts at the weekend.
Asked if it is an opportunity to prove that places are up for grabs at Wembley, Klopp replied: “Yes”.
“We must show we want to win the game. Then we make decisions. We have to show that we are able be 100 percent concentrated on this game. Then we will have a really good chance in the final.
“We can lose tomorrow, because Augsburg are strong. I know you all don’t think so but it’s true. If you give all, you don’t always get all but it’s the only chance to get something.
“I hope we show we want to win this game and then we concentrate on the next one.”
This is Klopp’s public stance. Privately he must know that he is 90 minutes away from marking his first season as Liverpool manager with the club’s first trophy in four years.
The importance of Sunday and what it would do for the club as a whole, and the momentum of the Klopp regime, means that he would be wise to consider a balanced selection.
Players like Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho could be match-winners against City. He needs to weigh up whether are good enough to dispatch Augsburg without either of them.
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