Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp delivers team news ahead of UCL clash against Benfica
Speaking in a pre-match presser, as quoted by Liverpool Echo, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has suggested that he would have his whole squad available for the UEFA Champions League clash against Benfica.
Liverpool suffered a midfield injury crisis in the initial stages of the season when Naby Keïta, Thiago Alcântara, James Milner and Curtis Jones were sidelined in and around the same period. The excessive pressure was visible on the available squad members as they struggled to keep up with the busy schedule.
Later in the season, apart from minor injury concerns, the Reds faced a covid outbreak that kept several crucial players sidelined for a fair amount of time. It is fair to say that despite us already being in contention for a historic quadruple, such fitness issues slowed down our title charge and created a big gap between us and Manchester City- that we are now still struggling to negate.
In the pre-match press conference ahead of the UCL tie against Benfica, Jurgen Klopp was asked whether his current squad is the best that he has had during his managerial career. The German agreed and revealed that he would have all the players fit and available for the first time in the season.
“Yes. Since I’m here, we’ve always had great teams. I love them all. But now we have a bigger squad, high quality, all fit for the first time, more experienced. We know more about each other. It’s the strongest.”
A sign of relief for the manager?
Liverpool are set to face a challenging schedule in the coming weeks. First, they have a big task in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg against Benfica. We do have a 3-1 lead to take at Anfield tonight, but UCL has shown us time and again that no lead can be taken for granted.
Having had some of the most historic European comebacks in the history of the sport, we of all people should know that we cannot take our foo off the pedal.
After this, Klopp’s men are set to face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, and later this month, they will compete against Manchester United and Everton in the Premier League.
All these matches hold a massive significance for Liverpool’s season. Hence, the manager might be expecting the best from his players and it comes as a massive boost that he has all players fit and raring to go ahead of the busy month.
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However, with a busy schedule comes added pressure on players’ fitness. The German manager might be interchanging players a lot in different fixtures to protect them from any vulnerability,
Klopp now has the freedom to place a strong lineup in every match without taking much risk with crucial players’ health because of the options he has available in his team. If we overcome the challenge that Benfica pose tonight, the Reds will then take on Villarreal in the UCL semi-final later this season.