Jurgen Klopp hits out at suggestion that dead rubber match against Porto could cause needless injuries as Liverpool ‘have to respect the integrity of the competition’… but hints at several senior players sitting it out
- Liverpool are preparing to host Portuguese giants Porto at Anfield this week
- The Champions League group has already been won by Jurgen Klopp’s side
- Last season a similar dead rubber tie against Midtjylland saw Diogo Jota injured
- Klopp hit back at a question of resting the squad, but hinted at several changes
An angry Jurgen Klopp had little patience for questions regarding potential injuries on Tuesday, ahead of his Liverpool side hosting Porto at Anfield in midweek.
Liverpool welcome the Portuguese giants to Merseyside for European action, knowing the outcome of the match means rather little to them.
The Reds were cast into the Champions League’s ‘Group of Death’ this season after being drawn alongside AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and also Porto – yet have won every single game so far and thus won the group with two fixtures remaining as a result.
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will still ‘respect the integrity’ of the Champions League this week
And so, despite the match being a dead rubber for his men, Klopp still took exception to a question from one reporter during Tuesday’s pre-match press conference, in which it was asked whether there was a fear of causing needless injuries – as was the case last season with Diogo Jota in a similarly meaningless match-up against Midtjylland.
Hitting out, Klopp replied: ‘It’s really easy to sit there where you sit, or all the people who judge us, and say “leave him out, leave him out, leave him out”.
The Reds are yet to drop a point and have already won the group with two matches to spare
‘If we leave them all out and play with a team that is not a Champions League team – we don’t have enough players for that, by the way – then nobody can get injured.
‘But the first question was how much we respect the integrity of the competition.
‘So it’s so easy to sit in your chair and ask these kinds of questions, to be honest.’
However, Klopp would later go on to hint that the wellbeing of the players would naturally come before all else, and that the thoughts of the club’s medical department would have a large sway on team selection.
Klopp added: ‘We always respect the competition but we have to think about ourselves and our schedule and the situation of our players first.
‘We didn’t make these decisions yet, to be honest, because, how we all know, in this time of the season, the medical department has a big hand in line-ups.
In a similar dead rubber last season with Midtjylland striker Diogo Jota ended up badly injured
Captain Jordan Henderson was only fit enough for a substitute role against Arsenal on Saturday after returning from England duty with a minor problem, while left-back Andy Robertson was left out entirely after injury with Scotland.
Both are now fit enough to face Porto but Klopp has a balancing act to maintain.
‘Hendo, we will see,’ he added.
‘Yesterday, I would say maybe he was not at 100 per cent. So he can play, he can do pretty much everything but it’s about really being at 100 per cent fit.
‘Robbo, similar. Both are OK, but are both now ready to play, ready to start but with the schedule, with games coming up?
‘We have to make these decisions.’