LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) embraces Rhys Williams after the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0 and finished 3rd in the table. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Youngster gets surprise name-drop as Jurgen Klopp hails ‘strongest squad ever’

Jurgen Klopp believes those being left out of his squad are the “strongest players” he has been forced to omit in his career, including a surprise young centre-back.

With Roberto Firmino due back in training early this week, Liverpool will again have a full complement of players to choose from for their next game.

It is an amazing position for Klopp to find himself in, but also presents the manager with a tough decision every week over who to leave out of his matchday squad.

For Sunday’s 2-0 win over Everton, the trio of Takumi Minamino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harvey Elliott were all cut, while Divock Origi, Joe Gomez and Curtis Jones have all found themselves in a similar position in recent weeks.

As Klopp discussed the situation in his post-match interview with Sky Sports, he even namedropped Rhys Williams, who is clearly making an impact in training.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 24, 2022: Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after their 2-0 win over Everton in the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 240th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parneby/Propaganda)

“The group lives because of these boys. They are the strongest players ever, ever, ever, that I didn’t have in the squad,” the manager said.

Harvey Elliott is in brilliant shape, obviously didn’t make the squad. Takumi Minamino, unbelievable. Oxlade-Chamberlain, unbelievable.

“Even Rhys Williams is in really good shape.

“And they didn’t make the squad. That’s hard, but shows then how they behave, how they keep the mood up and all these kinds of things.

“It shows how we are able to do these kinds of things.”

In his post-match press conference, Klopp lauded the game-changer Origi for his ability to step in and make an impact without the momentum offered to fellow forwards Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Roberto Firmino.

The makeup of the squad will change over the summer, with the Belgian due to depart on a free transfer and decisions to be made over the likes of Minamino and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

But it is a position that Klopp has embraced for the time being, even though he finds it “really hard” to leave his fringe players out of a 20-man squad.

“How you can imagine, today again, other players were not in the squad who are in really good shape,” he told reporters.

“I have really hard decisions to make, because the boys all want to contribute and are all responsible for the situation we are in.”