Jurgen Klopp explains why Cody Gakpo starts over Darwin Nunez vs. Sheff United

Darwin Nunez is on the bench for Liverpool’s match at Sheffield United – but it is not a position he “deserves,” says Jurgen Klopp, with the manager explaining his thinking pre-match.

Cody Gakpo and Nunez have been rotating effectively of late, with the duo each in the starting lineup for two of the last four matches – including the trip to Sheffield United.

The manager has been resistant to talk up the narrative between the two attackers and explained his thinking of selecting the Dutchman ahead of Nunez at Bramall Lane.

When asked about his changes and what he wants to see from Gakpo, Klopp told Amazon Prime: “Just a good game, with our offensive four now, unfortunately, we have to share it between them.

“The quality is there, we are happy with all of them. It is just how we want to start and who comes on.

“Cody deserves it, obviously, but Darwin didn’t deserve not to start and he will play tonight, he will be very important for us.

“In this busy schedule, you have to make sure you can use as many as possible and still give rhythm to as many as possible.”

While Diogo Jota has taken a step in his recovery from a hamstring injury by starting to run again, Klopp knows he has to carefully manage the minutes of his forwards.

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have seven games, including the one at Sheffield United, in the space of 20 days and with the additional fresh warning of Joel Matip‘s injury, the team selection is an understandable one.

But while Gakpo’s selection over Nunez will have been anticipated, it would have been surprising for some to see Alexis Mac Allister start again after Klopp hinted at tired legs after the Fulham win.

Klopp made four changes in total and though he insists he focuses on one game at a time, it will not be lost on him that Liverpool face Crystal Palace on Saturday in the 12.30pm kickoff.