Jürgen Klopp has confirmed he expects to make changes to his Liverpool starting line-up for the Capital One Cup tie with AFC Bournemouth – but Daniel Sturridge will not be available for selection.
The striker has missed the Reds’ last three outings due to a knee problem and won’t be considered for the Anfield clash with the Cherries as he makes his way back to full fitness.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference at Melwood, Klopp said: “There is nothing really new in this part [squad fitness].
“Daniel is not available for tomorrow. He is getting better but not quick enough that it changes the situation for us. He is not in training.
“I saw him five minutes ago working with Chris [Morgan] in the gym, but it was not normal football training, so we have to wait.”
Liverpool’s most recent outing – the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday – was their third game in just nine days.
The fact 10 players started each of those games is the reason behind Klopp’s decision to make changes for the encounter with Bournemouth, in addition to James Milner’s one-match suspension.
The German explained: “We have to change the team a little bit. At this moment I don’t know how many changes we will make.
“I will make the changes not because this tournament isn’t important for me – that is important for me to say. When I make changes, it is because I want to win the game – that’s the only reason for this. It is always because we believe we can win with that team and we always do what we believe we have to do in that moment.
“With this game, Bournemouth, I will play for the first time in this cup and it is very important – a very, very important game – but I know we have had three games in the last eight or nine days in the legs, so we have to change.
“We have a suspended player in Milly [Milner], we have injured players and we have little problems where we won’t go and risk. We have to wait for this final information tomorrow morning. We will see who can train today and tomorrow and then we will make a team for tomorrow evening.
“For sure, there will be one or two young players but not because this is not an important cup in the world for me – no, it is the complete opposite for me. I really want to win and that is the reason why we will change.”
One young player who will hoping to be involved is Cameron Brannagan.
The 19-year-old made his first-team debut earlier this season when he appeared as a substitute in the Europa League draw in Bordeaux and, on Monday, signed a new contract with Liverpool.
“I’ve seen enough to say congratulations on this new contract,” said Klopp. “He is a great young guy and I like his style.
“For his age, he has everything you need for a midfield player. He wants to play football, he is strong, clear, cool.
“It is not easy for these guys [young players] to train for the first time with a new manager and think he might make a final judgement.
“That’s not how I work, but of course these guys don’t know this. I enjoy working with these guys – and Cameron is really a talent.”