Press conferenceJürgen Klopp discusses Man City cup tie, selection decisions and World Cup impact
Jürgen Klopp has not yet decided how he will approach Liverpool's Carabao Cup meeting with Manchester City in terms of team selection.
The Reds are set to visit Etihad Stadium for a fourth-round tie in the week commencing December 19, meaning it will be their first match following the mid-season break for the World Cup.
Several Academy youngsters were involved as Klopp made wholesale changes for the holders’ third-round penalty shootout win over Derby County and he was asked on Friday whether he will again look to youth for the clash with City, which will be played just a few days after the World Cup final.
“I have really no idea. The thing is that we have a pre-season [training camp] before that game, so the players will be involved, definitely involved, hopefully fit enough and stuff like this, and have a pre-season,” the manager said.
“I think that’s similar with City. City has definitely more players at the World Cup than we have. So, we have to see who is available. That’s always, by the way, the case: players’ availability and these kind of things.
“Because of intense schedules it made always sense to… let me say it like this, if the game against Derby would have been the only game in three weeks, we would have played a different team. That’s clear. It’s not about just forcing the kids in and it’s a kids’ competition and stuff like this, but we like it that way, that’s how we can use the competition, to show our prospects.
“For this game, I have no idea. We will come back from our training camp [and] I will make the decision then around the game.”
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Seven of Klopp’s squad have been selected for World Cup duty and the boss explained how he will keep in touch with his players competing in Qatar.
He stated: “That is now a number that is not too big. They are important players for us, very important players, but we have a clear rule how it is with them in the national games: the boys have to text me if there are any issues and especially after the game.
“In the World Cup it is different, we can see all the games, we see ‘he is playing or not playing’ and we can probably read the news. When there is a World Cup you get all the information.
“When there is a normal international game and Brazil plays, it’s tricky to get any kind of information so we need the players to tell us, ‘No, fine, 90 minutes but I’m OK.’ That’s the contact we will have, definitely. It is clear that when they are winning the players’ WhatsApp group will get bonkers and that’s how it is.
“Anyway, we are in the training camp in Dubai - that’s around the corner [from Qatar], so if somebody has to leave the tournament early they can join us immediately. That’s one of the reasons why we go there.”
Klopp was also quizzed on whether he sees it as advantageous to not have as many players heading to the tournament as some of Liverpool’s rivals.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“So, yes, City has double figures and we would usually have Diogo [Jota] as well going to the World Cup and then we are already at eight. Probably some others if they had been in a slightly different situation, not injured and stuff like this, then they might have made it as well.
“I’m happy about the number of players we have for our pre-season, that’s a good number, all positions are covered. So, should have two centre-halves, three or four full-backs, enough midfielders, front line pretty much, Lucho [Luis Diaz] is now running outside and looks really good. That’s positive. Of course that’s how we use it, but moaning about the players who are at the World Cup? No.
“I think it is enough, to be honest. Enough players will go and we need them all back healthy, definitely. But of course then it is a really long season to come, a lot of games and it starts early, but from that moment on there is no rest again. So that’s the problem obviously. Between the last matchday [against Southampton on Saturday] and the first matchday [back] I think it is six weeks?
“So, OK, with the Carabao Cup maybe only five-and-a-half weeks, but if you only play three games and go out after the group stage there is no real problem and then you have time to train and afterwards rest a little bit.
“If you go through to the final or to the semis at least, because you play for third place as well, then it’s really long and a lot of games in that period. But that will not happen for everybody, somebody has to get out of the tournament [earlier].
“No, it is for all players difficult who are playing there, but going out after the group stage then you have three games in 10 or 12 days or something like that and the rest you can rest and prepare and that would be OK. For the guys who are really successful it is very intense.
“That’s the situation. There are plenty of Premier League clubs who are not like that. I don’t know about Aston Villa, our first [Premier League] opponent after, they have a new manager and a real pre-season and probably nearly all the players together so for them it’s really good.
“For the teams who have players at the World Cup, the more you have [there] the less good it is because the less time you have to work together and prepare for the rest of the season. Because as intense as it was now, the real intense part now will come.”