Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Thiago and midfield management
Jürgen Klopp has described how he will look to manage his midfield selections amid the intensity of Liverpool’s winter fixture schedule.
The Reds face their third match in the space of a week when Southampton visit Anfield on Saturday, with trips to Goodison Park, Molineux and San Siro over a six-day period following.
Ahead of the meeting with Saints, Klopp was asked about the importance of keeping Thiago Alcantara – who recently returned from a nine-game lay-off due to a calf injury – fit, after the No.6’s stunning goal during his Player of the Match-winning display against FC Porto in midweek.
The boss replied: “Thiago is an incredible player for us, of course, but we found solutions when he was not available and we have to find solutions.
“It’s not about one player out or in. The quality of our team when our midfielders are fit – just to talk about our midfielders – we have an incredible choice, to be honest, of players there.
“Thiago has a very specific skillset, absolutely, and is very helpful when he is on the pitch when he has rhythm and all that stuff, so that’s the challenge we face: make sure he can gain rhythm but not overdo it. But we have that with all the players pretty much, that’s the challenge we face all the time, especially with the amount of games coming up.
“That’s why we took him off again in this game [against Porto], just to not get him the chance to get too tired in a game, where then injuries might happen. We have a similar thing to do with Ox a little bit, he played now a lot of games [and] we have to think about the same stuff.
“Others came back from injury. Fab came back, for example, from Brazil with a really bad stomach. He played then the full game [versus Arsenal], was possible, but then we thought, ‘OK, come on, we should not stress it there’ and left him out [against Porto]. He played only 25 minutes.
“Hendo came back injured from the national team, Robbo came back injured from the national team so that’s how you have to get through these games.
“Again, Wednesday-Saturday is always a time where we have to really think about, ‘How can we change?’ Saturday-Wednesday is completely different, it’s a day more, that’s what you need. But Wednesday-Saturday, after all the games we played, we have to really think about.”