Liverpool’s team selection is effectively dictated by their medical staff at present, and Jurgen Klopp admits “some players are a little bit overplayed.”
The Reds suffered their second successive Premier League defeat on Saturday night, in their second successive game against a side in the relegation zone.
A late Crysencio Summerville goal, which should have been easily dealt with, handed Leeds a 2-1 win at Anfield, with Liverpool wasting a number of chances to go ahead at 1-1.
It was a laboured display late on, with shots skewed and the final pass way off the mark, and it is clear that the squad is suffering the effects not only of the ridiculous schedule of this season, but their near-historic effort last time out.
And speaking to Sky Sports after the defeat, Klopp admitted there are players in his squad who are now “overplayed.”
?? 'You cannot defend like we did for the second goal.'
“With the amount of games we have, maybe some players are a little bit overplayed,” he said.
“Harvey, who played exceptional for us this season, had a good start in the game but couldn’t keep going.
“Thiago was ill last week, but not ill since two or three days anymore, so we think we’ll bring fresh legs in, think that makes sense.
“Up front they play now all the time, it’s the three strikers we have left.”
Out of a maximum of 1,620 minutes so far this season, with Liverpool having played 18 games already, seven outfield players have already clocked over 1,000.
Virgil van Dijk (1,620) has played every minute of every game and Mohamed Salah (1,504) is not far off, while Fabinho (1,268) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (1,249) have played nearly the equivalent of 14 full games already.
There is understandable concern over Harvey Elliott (1,050), who has now exceeded his minutes from the previous campaign, with caution required with players of his age.
With Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Arthur all sidelined for the long term, and Naby Keita not expected back until after the World Cup, it will remain a difficult balancing act for Klopp and his backroom staff.
But with only four games left until a six-week break – including a League Cup clash with third-tier side Derby – it is simply a case of making it through at this stage.