Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reiterated that his sole responsibility is the fitness of his players, as he responded to backlash for his comments about his side’s FA Cup fourth-round replay.
Klopp was met with criticism for confirming that none of his senior players would be involved in the clash with Shrewsbury Town at Anfield next month, with a youthful team set to play in their place.
The Football Association has responded by insisting that all teams accepted the prospect of cutting short their mid-season break for fourth-round replays before the start of the season.
Speaking in his latest press conference, Klopp was asked again about the situation and was quick to firm up his standpoint on the fixture.
“It’s not that we gave up,” the manager said. “It’s not that I want to make popular decisions, I have to make decisions on the situation we are in.
“The FA tried to do something with moving games to midweek to decrease the intensity. I don’t know how it was discussed. I know how it sounds and I don’t want to be in the middle of all these discussions.
“I am not a revolutionary guy, that’s not the reason. My responsibility is to my players. If people think I am lazy I cannot change that. I’m not interested in it.
“If we react how we always react and find a way to do it, then nothing will change. The only responsibility I feel is for my players and for all the players as well. We had to make a decision and I have.
“Now it looks like people want something different. Could I be here for it? Of course but it is a misunderstanding of coaching.
“I cannot just show up for it within two days. They need their coach and that is Critch [Neil Critchley]. We try to win it.”
Elsewhere, Klopp provided a welcome boost for Liverpool with Sadio Mane nearing a return to full fitness.
Mane pulled up with an injury midway through the Premier League win over Wolves and was not in the squad for Sunday’s draw with Shrewsbury.
Klopp also spoke about the threats that Wednesday’s opponents West Ham pose, insisting that earning victory in East London will not be an easy job.