Ibrahima Konate was the only player to drop out of the side for Liverpool’s 2-1 win at West Ham, but Jurgen Klopp insists his No. 5 is “not injured.”
Instead, Konate’s absence at the London Stadium comes as a precaution after ongoing fitness issues.
The Frenchman has suffered a series of injury problems this season, but had played the full 90 minutes in all nine games since the start of March – as well as two for France.
His withdrawal from the squad to face West Ham was a concern, therefore, and before the game Klopp told BT Sport that it came after “little niggles” in previous weeks.
“If this was the last game of the season he probably would have been available,” he said, “but now we have to make sure we don’t have to push the boys.”
This could have suggested a wider concern for Konate, but in his post-match press conference Klopp allayed fears of any layoff.
“Ibou could have played,” he elaborated.
“He’s not injured, but in the last two, three weeks he always had to rest two days, one day, then half a session and stuff like this.
“I thought now we have to make sure that he can recover properly so he doesn’t get injured.
“That’s why we left him completely at home. That’s it pretty much.”
Klopp has repeatedly stressed the need to shuffle his side in this stretch of four games in 11 days, though elsewhere in his press conference he admitted: “This team is set up now for their defensive readiness.”
“It’s the ticket into the team,” he added.
“It doesn’t mean the other boys don’t do that, but these guys now, they do it like animals.”
Konate out, Joel Matip in has been the only alteration to the Liverpool lineup over the past four games, with the likes of Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota retained partly due to their work off the ball.
It was notable that in three of those four games there have been seemingly pre-planned changes on the hour mark, too, with Jota (twice), Jones, Fabinho, Cody Gakpo and Jordan Henderson all brought off.
Whether there will be major changes between these upcoming fixtures against Tottenham, Fulham and Brentford remains to be seen.
There is a chance that, as with Konate on Wednesday night, there will only be minor tweaks to manage the workload for particular players.