Mohamed Salah is set to become the latest Liverpool player to be given a rest with Jurgen Klopp adamant rotation is an absolute necessity.
Klopp sprang a surprise in the Merseyside derby when he started neither of his Brazilians Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, even though they had been magnificent four days earlier in the 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow.
Liverpool’s manager came in for criticism for his selection but he is prepared to block out the noise. He has made 59 changes to his starting line-up in the Premier League since the beginning of the season but will continue to tinker to ensure his squad does not suffer burn out later in the campaign.
Mohamed Salah is the latest Liverpool star set to be given a rest by manager Jurgen Klopp
Salah, who is the Premier League’s leading scorer, has been magnificent since arriving from Roma but he was withdrawn in the 62nd minute of the 1-1 draw with Everton with a minor hamstring issue and it is unlikely he will be asked to start against West Brom on Wednesday night.
‘I don’t need an excuse,’ said Klopp.
‘I find it funny that we talk after this game about (rotation). We did not speak after the 5-1 (at Brighton) or 3-0 (at Stoke) why they (big players such as Sadio Mane and Salah) did not play. This is one game we should have won they did not play.
‘If we play it ten times and we win. It is one bit of information, okay, but it sounds like an excuse for me. I took Mo Salah off as he had a hamstring a little bit. Everyone said “how can you take him off?” I don’t go out and say “Yeah, but he is close to being injured’. He isn’t at the moment, thank God.’
Salah was withdrawn in the 62nd minute of the Everton draw with a minor hamstring issue
Klopp did not start Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho (centre) in the Merseyside derby
It would, Klopp feels, be irresponsible to keep selecting the same players when there are so many games to play and he is not prepared to gamble with anyone’s fitness – particularly that of the Egyptian – just to get short-term gain.
This also gives an insight into why there has been just one Premier League game so far – the 3-0 home win against Southampton on November 18 – that Salah, Mane, Coutinho and Firmino have started.
It is the only time, Klopp’s ‘Fab Four’ have been on the pitch together in a domestic game.
Klopp feels it would be irresponsible to select the same players when there are so many games
‘We have a little information after a game and sometimes that leads to a decision that sometimes you should not go with the risk of this or that player,’ said Klopp. ‘Sometimes you have to ignore it because the player has to go through. That is how it is. We have to make these decisions.
‘The future of football will be more rotation because no-one will take away the games. It is quicker, more intense; more sprints, more high runs, less breaks and so many things. It is going in one direction and you have to react. That is always how I saw it, but you need the opportunity.
‘We have to do it. Seven games in 21 games before Everton and now six games in 18 days. It is exactly the same. We need the best quality we can have before each game. We cannot ignore the number of games.’