Jurgen Klopp stands by selection policy after Merseyside derby draw
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will continue his squad rotation policy and is happy to shoulder the blame when the team does not win.
The German made six changes for the 229th Merseyside derby at home to Everton, leaving out Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, and despite leading through Mohamed Salah’s 19th goal of the season they were pegged back by Wayne Rooney‘s 77th-minute penalty.
While Klopp argued Dejan Lovren’s challenge on Dominic Calvert-Lewin was not a spot-kick he stressed the team’s inability to kill off the visitors was not down to the omission of key players.
With a busy schedule over the next few weeks Klopp will continue to manage his squad as he tries to avoid a repeat of last season when injuries and unavailability cost his side dearly, winning just once in January.
Asked if it was the correct decision to make the changes he did the Reds boss said: “I thought before the game, yes. Still yes, even when the result doesn’t show it.
“We did it in the last six or seven weeks. We do it like this.
“Can they play better? Yes, but it’s an intense time. Ask everybody who played during the week, it’s intense what we’re doing, so that’s why we made changes.
“I’ve said it to the boys already, we can change as much as we want when we win the games, but when we don’t win the games I take the blame. I have no problem with that.
“The boys who came in were fresh and did a brilliant job. You need to be ready for each challenge – and we were ready for each challenge.
“We tried everything. We could have scored, we had clear chances, half-chances – we had everything you need but we didn’t use it.
“It was always clear a day like this could happen – we wanted to win 1-0 and we didn’t.
“I was really happy with the performance of the team. We thought we needed fresh legs – that’s what we had and we could have won it. We didn’t, so, as I said, blame me.”
One of the changes saw left-back Andrew Robertson come in for the injured Alberto Moreno.
The Scotland international, making only his fourth Premier League appearance of the season, felt they wasted the opportunity to make it four successive derby wins against their near-neighbours.
“You can see how the two teams reacted to the draw, we had our heads in our hands and their fans were going wild. I think that shows what the result meant,” he told LFCTV.
“We probably should have been more than 1-0 up at half-time and if we were I don’t think they are coming back from that.
“The chance for Sadio (Mane) on the stroke of half-time if he puts that away or squares it is is 2-0 and the way we controlled the second half I think we see it out.
“We are disappointed with a draw but we need to dust ourselves down and get ready for Wednesday.”
Robertson also thought the penalty decision was generous but said they only had themselves to blame.
“From where I was I thought it was soft. From the way Dejan reacted he thought it was soft too,” he added.
“When you are 1-0 up it is always a risk that they get a referee who gives them a favourable decision or they score from a set-piece and we left ourselves open to that.”