Jurgen Klopp faces cruel Liverpool squad decision after historic Man U
Erik ten Hag reacts to humiliating defeat to Liverpool
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp must make the brutal decision of deciding which of his stars to drop following the 7-0 thumping of Manchester United. Klopp has frequently insisted that his side must be rotated and it is highly unlikely that the same 11 players who started the Reds’ best performance of the season will line up against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Klopp reportedly behaved as if the thrashing of United on Sunday was just any old victory. That was evidenced by the German’s rather subdued celebration in front of Anfield’s Kop end following the game.
The victory placed Liverpool just four points off the Champions League places. When once qualification for Europe’s elite competition seemed out of sight, it is a genuine possibility for Klopp’s resurgent Reds.
But Liverpool now face a gruelling run of games that could decide their fate come late May. Klopp is set to make changes that might anger several players who were key to the club’s biggest-ever win over the Red Devils.
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Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez were all excellent against United, with each on the scoresheet. But Klopp has rarely kept his front three the same in successive matches.
In the week he reportedly informed Klopp of his desire to leave in the summer, Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score the seventh goal at Anfield. The Brazilian scored twice against Bournemouth in the 9-0 mauling of the Cherries earlier in the season and could be given a start.
For the best part of a decade, Firmino has been Klopp’s go-to star to play in the false-nine role. The veteran forward has proven his ability to link play and his performances have often been key to big wins over inferior opposition.
Should Firmino start, two-goal hero Gakpo could come out. The Dutchman finally appears to have found his feet at Anfield after a difficult start, but could benefit from a rest with next week’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid on the horizon.
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Klopp could also be tempted to start Diogo Jota following the forward’s return to injury. That could see Darwin Nunez drop to the bench having also bagged twice against United.
In midfield, Klopp’s options continue to grow. Fabinho appeared back to his best at the weekend, while Harvey Elliott impressed. Eighteen-year-old Stefan Bajcetic was surprisingly demoted to the bench against United but could return against Bournemouth.
A run of five games against Bournemouth, Madrid, Fulham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal could decide Liverpool’s season. Klopp now finds himself in the predicament of sticking with the team that thrashed United, or disappointing several stars by dropping them to the bench.
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