Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes Jurgen Klopp needs to wrap some of his star names in cotton wool as he attempts to plot a route to Premier League glory.
Liverpool put their injury woes behind them to record an impressive 3-0 win against Leicester on Sunday, extending their unbeaten Premier League record at Anfield to a club-record 64 matches.
Now Aldridge believes Klopp needs to be shrewd when he makes his team selections over the next few months, with Liverpool aiming to seal a swift passage to the Champions League last-16 when they take on Atalanta on Wednesday night.
“It may be a case of wrapping a few key players in cotton wool and not using them in certain games as they prepare to play 12 games in the next 41 days,” Aldridge told sundayworld.com.
“This is a very strong Liverpool squad with cover in every position, but they are already using those back-up players in several places and if Klopp was to lose Joel Matip, Mo Salah or Sadio Mane for an extended period now, he might run out of options.
“You look at the Liverpool bench and it is clear that they are running out of experienced options, so Klopp might have to be sensible in the final two Champions League group games as they should have enough to get into the knock-out stages by beating Atalanta on Wednesday.”
Aldridge went on to suggest Liverpool’s title hopes are set to be boosted by the injuries problems and dips in form for their rivals, with Manchester City dropping more points last weekend as they lost 2-0 at Tottenham.
“Every Premier League manager is facing similar problems right now and it feels like the team that manages their resources well and gets lucky with injuries will come out on top,” he added.
“So many players are being ruled out of matches and this is partly because of the workload they are facing, as well as the lack of pre-season. It means the body has not had time to recover and prepare again.”
In an interview that wasn’t shown in the UK, Klopp told Sky Sports: “It was never about us when I talked about it, it was about all the players. If you don’t start talking to BT [Sport] we are all done.
“Sky and BT have to talk because if we keep playing on Wednesday and Saturday [at] 12:30, I’m not sure if we will finish the season with 11 players.
Klopp furious with broadcasters
“I know you [the broadcasters] don’t care and that’s the problem. We’ve discussed it for a long time and nothing’s happened.
“I don’t talk about Liverpool, I talk about all the football players out there. Yesterday, [Gerard] Pique, massive knee injury. Today, [Bukayo] Saka, maybe, I’m not sure, a knee injury – he played all three games for England during the international break.
“Now people tell us to rotate players but who? We have some offensive players but the rest are kids.”
Sky interviewer Geoff Shreeves then highlighted the contracts that clubs agreed with broadcasters, but Klopp was dismissive.
“Gentlemen, start talking and making decisions. I like the relationship with you,” added Klopp.
“If someone tells me again about contracts I’ll go really nuts. Because these contracts aren’t made for a Covid season.
“We all have to adapt. Everything’s changed, but the contracts with the broadcasters is still: ‘We have this, so we keep this’. What? Everything changed, the whole world changed!”