- Jurgen Klopp explains four changes to starting lineup against Bournemouth
- Liverpool boss named Sadio Mane on the bench, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slotting into the team
- Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Simon Mignolet also recalled to first eleven
- SEE MORE: Sadio Mane reveals what Reds have been wondering about Mo Salah
Jurgen Klopp insists his changes to the Liverpool team for Sunday’s game against Bournemouth were not driven by injury issues.
The Reds’ boss fulfilled expectations by keeping his faith in his festive focus on rotation, naming Sadio Mane on the bench for the clash with Eddie Howe’s men.
Klopp consolidated his place as the manager to have made the most changes to his starting lineup in the Premier League this season.
Besides Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepping in to replace Mane, Simon Mignolet, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez were also named starters to mark four changes from the team that drew 0-0 with West Brom in midweek.
Discussing his changes, including the absence of Mane, Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “With the players we have here, we have no physical issues. The whole squad is absolutely OK. Of course, at home the boys who are not here have a few problems. It’s the group we could choose.”
“Now it’s about our game, it’s about what we need to bring on the pitch because of the opponent; [Bournemouth] have a clear structure, a 4-4-2, a good mix between pretty direct and playing football. That’s what we thought about.”
“The line-up for us is important of course, but not that important because the players are all good. I have a luxury problem, if you want, in this moment.”
Commenting on Salah, who many had expected to start on the bench, Klopp added: “We took him off a few times and he is quick at recovering. We have all the data, so after a game we see how quick they recover.”
“With Mo, we have never had an issue. Sadio is similar but he was injured, suspended and all that stuff. That makes it different. That’s all.”
Klopp’s team shares similarities with the side that beat West Ham 4-1 at the London Stadium in November, with the inclusion of Oxlade-Chamberlain hinting at the possibility of a 4-4-2.
Were that the case, Philippe Coutinho would likely occupy the left flank, on paper, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino lining up centrally.
Nonetheless, the interchanging Klopp has implemented means Liverpool’s setup tends to change throughout, with a more familiar 4-3-3 also an option.
Mane takes up one seat on a strong bench, with Adam Lallana also available again following his lengthy spell on the sidelines.