Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s team selection at home to Stoke on Sunday had nothing to do with our Europa League fixtures with Dortmund, he told his press conference today.
Klopp’s outfit take on Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund at Anfield tomorrow, with the tie poised at 1-1 following last week’s draw.
Seemingly with this game in mind, and the one six days ago having just gone, Klopp left out a lot of his regular names for the weekend Premier League victory, including Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren, Coutinho, Adam Lallana and (for one half) Divock Origi.
However, it wasn’t to keep players fresh, as Dortmund did, but to keep them motivated.
“I wasn’t surprised that BVB did it, but I don’t know their situation,” he said, reported in the Echo.
“We didn’t rotate because of this game with BVB, we did it because we wanted a team that was really greedy against Stoke.
“You need the players to rotate. You can’t bring in players if you know they can’t handle the situation.
“It’s not about gaining experience but losing 6-0!”
In fairness, Klopp doesn’t have to explain his selection to anyone, because his team won 4-1 and battered Mark Hughes’ Potters.
Regardless of his reasons, it worked, but you’d have to predict he’ll bring back the expected names for Thursday’s crunch clash – which could potentially define our season.
A win means we’re in the semis, favourites for the Europa League and three games away from Champions League qualification and a first piece of silverware under Klopp.