Jurgen Klopp believes the type of competition for places he has at Anfield is essential in the Premier League and can contribute to a successful season for Liverpool.
The Reds have been in fine form at the start of the season, picking up seven points from three games, and they have been further boosted by the signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Philippe Coutinho’s return to the fold, while Naby Keita will join next year.
Klopp accepts that these increased options could create problems, but he is hoping to use the depth of the Reds’ squad to his advantage.
“You have to accept at the beginning of the season that I cannot keep all the players happy each second of the day,” he told a pre-match news conference ahead of facing Manchester City.
“In the dressing room, we had a little meeting and spoke about this. If you look left, if you look right, there’s pure quality.
“If we are smart enough to use this quality, it is possible we can be successful this season.
“This makes it easy for me. It’s always a decision for one game. We made a few changes against Crystal Palace – it was a different performance, but it was really good and good enough to win the game.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 8, 2017
“Football will hopefully change in the next few years so that, after a few games, we give them a little rest and say we don’t need football this weekend.
“At the moment, we need to be ready all the time and that means we need more players. That means we have to rotate to keep the intensity levels up and minimise the risks of injuries.
“Nobody should play 60 games in a season. If you use a player all the time, you are accepting injuries. We have to adapt.”
There has been intrigue about where Oxlade-Chamberlain might fit in – having reportedly grown frustrated at being used as a wing-back at former club Arsenal – but Klopp sees numerous potential roles for the England international.
“He is a very good football player,” Klopp said. “He is good in small spaces, really good in big spaces, a good dribbler, a good passer – there’s a lot of things I really like.
“That means you want to have him on the pitch as often as possible. He fits really well in the squad and really well in different line-ups.
“In the system we play at the moment – it’s not fixed for the next seven or eight months – he can play in four positions: as both number eights and both wingers.
“We play in a specific way and we want to use him in these positions.”
On confirming the signing of Keita, the manager added: “I have never received so many messages of congratulations.”
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