Jurgen Klopp confidently made seven changes to his side that triumphed at Burnley to keep Liverpool hot on the heels of Premier League Manchester City — and Xherdan Shaqiri says the reshuffle proves the Reds have an abundance of strength in their squad.
Klopp cited a busy schedule and demands on his players for the changes and his faith in his stars was rewarded as the Anfield giants notched up a 3-1 top-flight win at Turf Moor.
The victory came despite the visitors trailing 1-0 when Jack Cork broke the deadlock. Undeterred by the deficit, Klopp’s men went about their business and recorded the triumph through goals from James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Shaqiri.
And Swiss attacker Shaqiri, when quizzed on whether or not the win shows the quality within the Reds ranks, declared:
“Definitely, it shows the depth. It gave a lot of players confidence to play this game. Obviously, it is not simple for the other players who did not play for a long time so in the first half they needed time to come into the game, but after that we managed it well and you can see we have a very strong team where everyone can play.”
Liverpool, still unbeaten in the Premier League this season following 15 outings, started without Mo Sala, Firmino and Sadio Mane — and Divock Origi was handed his first league start since the end of last season.
And despite keeping tabs on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who lead the table by two points from the Merseysiders, Klopp has been quick to play down the title bid. Following the victory over Sean Dych’e strugglers, Klopp said:
“We fight for results. If somebody tells us we are not as good as Man City – then sorry, most of the teams in the world are not as good as Man City. We still want to win football games, that’s what we want, and we did it again against Burnley.”
Meanwhile, Klopp has lost the service of Joe Gomez for the trip to Bournemouth — and beyond — after he was injured in the game. And Klopp voiced his displeasure at Burnley’s strong-arm tactics. Defender Gomez was taken off on a stretcher and the German coach said:
“I said after the first challenge, I don’t know who did it, sliding tackle from six or seven yards, getting the ball, everybody likes it, I said to the ref ‘it’s no foul but please tell them you cannot do that’.
“But with six or seven yards and then slide, these times are over. They are over. Nobody can judge that type of tackle. You get the ball, nice, but it’s like bowling because you get the player as well.
“It happened four or five times, everybody likes it, but Joe is injured, and probably not only a little bit. We don’t know in the moment, we sent him home so we have to see, but it’s his ankle yes.”