James Milner’s impressive performance against Maribor in midweek demonstrated the importance of Liverpool’s squad depth, Jürgen Klopp believes.
The vice-captain was handed a starting berth in Slovenia, replacing Jordan Henderson in the centre of midfield, and duly turned in an excellent display to help the Reds to a resounding 7-0 victory in Champions League Group E.
Speaking at his pre-Tottenham Hotspur press conference at Melwood on Friday, Klopp was asked whether Milner would retain the position for the trip to Wembley.
The manager replied: “Of course [he will want to play], but no problem. I was never in doubt about Millie; there is nothing new about this. Yes, I am really happy for him that he performed that well, like all the others, thank God.
“But that’s the situation we wanted to have, that’s the situation that we need to have – that we have more of the highest quality players than 11. We’ve played now without Nathaniel Clyne, without Sadio Mane, without Adam Lallana, and the best thing is that we still have more players than we can use from the first whistle.
“I respect Millie a lot, he is a very, very important player for us on the pitch and off the pitch. No problems with that, [it’s] good.”
Meanwhile, Klopp outlined the reasoning behind the decision to hand Henderson a rest against Maribor.
“I never speak about the line-up, but Jordan is our skipper and I thought really it made sense,” explained the boss.
“Jordan played pretty much so far all the games. He had both international games with England, 90 minutes. So then he played the next game again, against United, which is a very, very intense game for a defensive midfield player, so it was clear that we would make one change in this game – against Maribor in the moment it was Jordan, but that’s all.”