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Klopp admits he has neglected squad options – but gives hope to Ox, Keita & Shaq

Jurgen Klopp admits he has not been able to give the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri the minutes they have wanted this season.

But the manager insists that should change next time out, when Liverpool’s injury situation improves.

The Reds are expected to welcome back Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip in time for pre-season, which will boost Klopp’s ranks considerably.

Having been without his three first-choice centre-backs for the majority of the campaign, Klopp has been forced to make sacrifices elsewhere, which includes rotating further forward.

Shaqiri (788), Keita (714), Oxlade-Chamberlain (274), Divock Origi (536), Kostas Tsimikas (225) and Neco Williams (765) have all clocked fewer than 900 minutes, but Klopp has given them hope that will increase in 2021/22.

“The summer is important for all of us,” he told reporters.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected after the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Real Madrid won 3-1 on aggregate. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“For Ox, it’s exactly the same as each player. When you don’t start games, then you have to use each training session and each minute on the pitch in a game to ‘convince’.

“I don’t have to be convinced, to be honest, but it’s about showing up in these kinds of situations.

“Ox had really good moments, trains good in the moment, I have to say really well, that’s good.

“These situations are not easy for the boys. Not only him, it’s not easy for Naby, it’s not easy for Shaq, it’s not easy for some other players.

“I know that, but during the season a lot of things happened.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Fulham won 1-0 extending Liverpool's run to six consecutive home defeats. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The one thing we tried to get, and when we got it to keep it, was balance and rhythm, stability.

“That means that you don’t change in these kinds of positions too often in between the games. That’s it pretty much.

“We need a few things. With always having a different defence, a few things in midfield need to be different to other things when we were much more settled, much more stable.

“That’s the reason why some players don’t have enough minutes in their understanding, for sure.

“In my understanding, that’s completely clear, but that will hopefully change completely next year.

“Because when you have more stability in the last line, then you can be more flexible formation-wise further up in the pitch.”

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