Jurgen Klopp defended his team selection for Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against West Brom on Sunday, insisting he chose what he considered the “strongest side” for the game.
Manager Klopp opted to make wholesale changes at The Hawthorns, with youngsters Sheyi Ojo, Cameron Brannagan and Jordon Ibe – who scored Liverpool’s equaliser after Salomon Rondon opened the scoring – among those to get their first-team chance in the Reds’ final Premier League match of the season.
The German had to take Wednesday’s Europa League final against Sevilla into consideration, with victory in Basle enough to secure a Champions League spot next term.
“It made sense because it was absolutely clear we cannot play here with 50 per cent concentration,” he said at a post-match news conference.
“I know about playing in finals, so it would have been difficult for the players. I knew this would be an intensive game, because that’s the way of West Brom how they play.”
“We decided on this line-up, really pleased with the boys.”
While Liverpool’s youngsters did battle against West Brom, the majority of Klopp’s first team stayed behind for a training session ahead of the continental showpiece.
And Klopp was surprised at any suggestion the club may face action from the Football Association for his team selection.
“I thought I decided what the strongest side was,” he said. “That was the strongest side for today. The other players already have their minds on the final.
“That’s normal. I brought the line-up that was best for this game. I can’t believe you have asked me that.”