Thursday 18 January 2018

Klopp's happy headache

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp embraces Lucas Leiva after the League Cup win over Derby on Tuesday night
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp embraces Lucas Leiva after the League Cup win over Derby on Tuesday night

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is happy to have to make difficult choices in the coming weeks as he views that as key indicator of the squad's strength.

The German made seven changes for the comfortable 3-0 League Cup win at Derby County, even leaving Daniel Sturridge out of the squad completely, as he saw Emre Can return from injury, handed Marko Grujic and goalkeeper Loris Karius their first starts, Danny Ings make his first appearance of the season and also gave a debut to academy 18-year-old Ovie Ejara.

Klopp does have some interesting selection dilemmas ahead, starting in goal where Karius - a £4.7million summer signing from Mainz - is now in a position to challenge Simon Mignolet for the number one spot, although he did not get much chance to showcase his talents in the one-sided encounter at the iPro Stadium.


The back four currently picks itself, but Can's comeback increases the competition in midfield, with Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum also left out of the squad to face Derby, while Sadio Mane (also rested) is certain to get a recall to the forward line for Saturday's visit of Hull, which means Sturridge could find himself on the bench again.

"The more players I have, the more difficult choices there are for me but the better it is for LFC," Klopp said.

"Can's fitness is not a problem. He has a strong mentality and fight but it is about rhythm - we can't go into a shop and buy rhythm. I don't rush it and Emre is cool about it."

Can himself admits he will have to prove himself all over again in order to regain his place in the team.

"They have done it very well," Can said in reference to the first-choice midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Lallana and Wijnaldum.

"Adam, Hendo and Gini have played well together and you can see by the results and the good football - I saw it as well myself as I play with them in the team and I was very happy for them," he said.

"Every player has to start from zero and myself as well.

"Now I am fit, if I get game-time I want to show myself again and also in training.

"We bought very good players and everyone is nearly fit and we have a strong squad.

"If you saw the last few games, we were very strong and we have to keep it up."

"It's not easy but I have to be patient. I try to train hard and if I get game-time then I try to play well and then we will see what happens."

Klopp also stressed Ings still had a part to play somewhere down the line as he eases his way back into competitive football after a knee ligament injury curtailed last season.

"It was a difficult time (for him), I know this but, like all the others, he's on a really good way and everybody can see this," the Reds boss added.

"We will see what will happen, but he's still an important player for us and it's all good."

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