(Reuters) – Liverpool’s players are smart enough to understand the need for rotation as the Premier League leaders grapple with a busy run of fixtures across all competitions, manager Juergen Klopp said on Friday.
Liverpool kicked off a run of nine fixtures this month with a 5-2 league victory over Everton on Wednesday and will field a young side in the League Cup on Dec. 17 and their best players in the Club World Cup in Qatar the following day.
“In this moment you need a smart squad, people with half a brain at least,” Klopp told reporters when asked about squad management ahead of Saturday’s league trip to Bournemouth.
“I can’t explain things properly all the time, they have to understand it without me telling them. Thank God we have that.
“I don’t expect perfection on the pitch, but I expect the desire… it’s not that complicated, you need players that think about the situation, understand the situation, because I don’t make decisions out of the blue. There are always reasons.”
Against Everton, Klopp, whose side lead second-placed Leicester City by eight points, made five changes to the side that beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 last Saturday.
“There’s no time for rest but we have to try to give players a rest here and there and others have to perform,” he said.
Striker Divock Origi, who replaced Roberto Firmino against Everton, scored twice in the derby victory and Klopp hailed the Belgian for a superb performance.
Origi’s national team manager Roberto Martinez was watching in the stands.
“Div is unbelievably important for us,” Klopp said.
“I was happy that Mr Martinez was in the stadium because he could see his quality because when he goes to the national team he never plays.
“He needs that good feeling and to be in a confident mood. Everybody knows what he’s able to do… it’s nice that he can show his importance. Both goals were exceptional.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)