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“As much as I owe them” – No room for team selection sentimentality for Klopp

What started as a question pertaining to the competition between Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas ended with an insightful answer from Jurgen Klopp about his squad.

With the injury list having all but cleared up to hand the manager an impressive list of options, tough decisions need to be made from each game to the next.

It is a headache Klopp will welcome after a turbulent time with absences of key players, with the competition for places one Klopp embraces but not in the traditional sense of the word.

Recruitment is not just to challenge another player in an existing position but to open up different solutions to problems that were not as easily answered with existing personnel.

It left Klopp insisting that it leaves no room for sentimentality in his team selection, only the right decision for the game in question.

“I’m not sure competition is exactly the word I want in this moment, we are one big team, one squad,” Klopp told reporters when asked specifically about Robertson and Tsimikas.

“If you play for Liverpool you have a lot of good things you can expect, but some things are different than when you play for another club.

“Here at Liverpool, you have to win every game. That is how it is. Unfortunately, we don’t do that but that doesn’t mean we are allowed to lose the next one as well.

“For this, we need brilliant players. These boys over the last few years did an absolutely incredible job, without ‘competition’.

“They stretched their limits unbelievably. We didn’t bring in different players to bring in competition, we bring in players to have solutions in different situations.

“That means now the boys have to deal with it. That’s the job they have to do.

Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on January 18, 2022 in Kirkby, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“It means you are in the first lineup, run your socks off and play as good as you can, as long as you can.

“And if you can’t do that anymore then another player has to be there, who can replace you and do the same job, if possible it will be better because he’s fresher.

“That is the idea. A season is really long and we suffered so much from injuries in the last few years and hopefully, it will not be the case now anymore.

“But it does happen we should be better prepared and if it doesn’t happen, then we have a situation where players will be on the bench who expect to play and players not in the squad who expect to be on the bench.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, October 18, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) chats with Andy Robertson (L) and James Milner (C) during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“These situations you never have for long but sometimes you will have that, it’s completely normal. We’ve had it before and will have it in the future.

“Footballers are used to that and if there is a player who can play the same position as yourself in quite an impressive way, you better perform!

“My job is not to stick with the boys as much as I like them, as much as I owe them and as much as we went through together – my job is to lineup the best team for today, not yesterday.

“The more top-class options we have, the better it is for the club.”

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