Klopp’s Verdict On Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has an unexpected dilemma on his hands ahead of their clash with Porto in their penultimate Champions League group stage match on Wednesday night. The Reds defeated the Portuguese team 5-1 at the Estadio do Dragao in September.
Klopp has been given an unexpected dilemma after his side cemented their place as group winners by defeating Atletico Madrid earlier this month.
Liverpool are now seven points clear at the top of the Group B table, with just two matches remaining.
And Klopp will therefore have to decide what sort of team he puts out for the remaining matches as they are effectively meaningless for the Reds.
Last season, Liverpool had already won their Champions League group by the time they faced Danish side FC Midtjylland in their final match before the knockout stages.
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Klopp was expected to rest his superstar players but opted to name the likes of Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota in the starting line-up for the match.
And the decision came back to haunt the German boss as Jota was forced off late on with a knee injury.
The Portugal international subsequently missed nearly three months of the season as Liverpool fell away from the Premier League title race.
Jota proved to be a big miss for the Reds and the team won just five of the 15 Premier League matches he was unavailable for.
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Klopp cannot afford to allow history to repeat itself and will need to protect his star players when his side face Porto this week and AC Milan at the start of next month.
Liverpool already face an injury nightmare, with Roberto Firmino, Andy Robertson and Naby Keita among a string of players who are currently out of action.
With Sadio Mane and Salah set to depart for the African Cup of Nations in the New Year, Klopp will need to keep as many of his players as possible fit.
The Reds are well-positioned to compete for trophies on all fronts this campaign and won’t want to go off the boil like they did in the second half of last season.
Klopp’s side had to make do without the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for much of the last campaign and Liverpool were found wanting time and time again as their title hopes went up in smoke.
Liverpool reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, where they were knocked out by Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid.
But Klopp will be hoping to take his side all the way again this time around after leading the Reds to the Champions League trophy in 2019.
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