Klopp explains Liverpool clear out for Fulham; pundit baffled at one change

Date published: Sunday 7th March 2021 2:30 - Jonny Whitfield


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that bringing in fresh legs was behind his decision to make seven changes for Sunday’s clash with Fulham.

Centre-back Rhys Williams and midfielder Naby Keita featured among the players to come in.

Williams replaced the injured Ozan Kabak, but Fabinho did not keep his place alongside him. Instead, Nathaniel Phillips partnered the Englishman.

Further forward, Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara dropped out for Keita and James Milner, respectively.

Up top, meanwhile, Sadio Mane and the injured Roberto Firmino made way for Diogo Jota’s first start since December 19 and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Klopp also made a change at full-back, with Neco Williams replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The manager told Sky Sports before the match: “We are in an intense period and we have the opportunity now to change some players who have now more sessions in their legs.

“That’s the plan behind it, getting fresh legs back and try to give Fulham a proper fight.”

Diogo Jota Liverpool

On Jota’s return to the starting team, Klopp added: “Yeah, it’s good. Obviously Diogo we miss him a lot that’s clear and having him back is cool. It looked like a kickstart and then he had a little setback.

“But now he could play 30 minutes [against Chelsea] and we will see how long it will take him.”

“I think everybody can imagine. It’s not easy, but it’s our situation,” Klopp said of yet another defensive partnership this season.

“That’s how it is, it’s all good. It’s our situation and we try to make things happen in the game and today again.”

Carragher surprised at full-back switch

Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool v Man City February 2021

Liverpool face a crucial run of games in the next week, including Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg with RB Leipzig.

Jamie Carragher was asked by Sky Sports if the raft of changes presented a last throw of the dice amid the Reds’ recent slump.

“I think top four is going to be really difficult for Liverpool, not just because of the points difference right now but also the actual form of the other teams,” the pundit said.

“I thought Chelsea were really impressive here, I think Everton are in better form, maybe even West Ham who we’ll see on Monday.

“Yeah, if it doesn’t go well today, I think all thought for Liverpool will be on trying to win the Champions League as opposed to being in it next season.”

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Carragher also admitted surprise that Alexander-Arnold was the one to make way in the full-back changes.

“If you look at Trent, he’s actually played well in the past few games, but I just think those same players playing week in, week out,” he said.

“I actually thought if someone was going to get a rest full-back wise it would have been Andy Robertson. He’s just played constantly since the season began.

“As I said, three days in six games, a big game midweek and Liverpool are not exactly pulling up any trees at the moment.”

READ MORE: Liverpool legend tells club to ‘let Salah go’ amid Coutinho comparisons

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