Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is remaining calm as a top-four finish continues to drift out of sight due to his side’s inconsistent form.
The Reds boss said the wholesale changes made in midweek against Chelsea were not intended to send a message to under-performing players after an abject second-half performance at Manchester City where they conceded three goals to lose 4-1.
For the goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, Klopp removed more than half of that team, dropping the likes of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but while the City display partly influenced his thinking, it was not intended to provoke a response.
“(It’s not) ‘Why have you left me out?’. This is not the situation we are in.”
Asked how much his team selection was a reaction to the City game and how much was as a result of three games in a week, Klopp added: “We had a game against City, which is an influence both physically and performance-wise, and then we have a game three days later so it is both.
“How can you expect I give you an answer and I say ‘two were because of that and four were because of that’.
“That opens the door for everyone because if you play three times a week the boys who play all the time they recover and the other boys can train well but (if) the last game you won why would you make six changes because we saw one session with a few players?”
Following Sunday’s visit of Premier League leaders Arsenal, Liverpool do not play again for another eight days when they travel to Leeds, with another six days before the visit of Nottingham Forest.
Klopp hopes that will give him the chance to build on what few positives there were from Stamford Bridge.
He continued: “We have to change, we have to find a basis we can build on. First step: intensity, desire, passion. That was good at Chelsea. The rest not so much.
“But it’s fine, let’s go from there. I cannot constantly ask for something I didn’t get.
“I am really calm in this moment, it might be a surprise but I am really calm. I see everything and I base my decisions on that and in the end we will see what the outcome is. I cannot do more.”
Klopp will, at least, be boosted by the return of winger Luis Diaz at Leeds in 10 days’ time with the Colombia international, out since October with a knee injury, on the verge of a comeback.
“The plan with Luis is that he will be available 100 per cent for Leeds (on April 17),” he said.
“Again, it looks good, everything is fine, but it was a long injury and so we have to be careful. We will probably not involve him for Sunday.”
Midfielder Thiago Alcantara, sidelined for two months with a hip problem, is fit to return, however, while Virgil van Dijk will be back after illness forced him to miss Chelsea.
“Thiago looks slightly different. He was not out that long, trained now three, four times with the team and might be available but we have to check how he feels today,” added Klopp.