Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he is keeping one eye on Liverpool’s trip to Southampton ahead of Wednesday night’s UEFA Super Cup final against Chelsea, and the hints about rotating his side should encourage Saints.
The German spoke to the media ahead of the Reds’ clash against the Blues in Instanbul, and as quoted by the Merseyside outfit’s official club website, he stated that he would be integrating fresh legs for both fixtures.
Indicating that he would be unable to play his most potent line-up in both games, with some regular starters set for rotation either against Chelsea or Southampton, he said:
Wednesday is the game – it was Friday to Wednesday so that should be OK. But after that we need to think about the Southampton game, we come back on Thursday, and two days later we play Southampton, so we cannot ignore that game as well.
It’s difficult to say now about the Southampton game, it’s not too cool to think about the next game really before you play the first one, but you can’t ignore it. We have to see but it’s more about that we are early in the season, a lot of players made a good impression in pre-season [and some] came back late, so that’s all good.
We have opportunities and I think we will use a few of them just to bring fresh legs, to show immediately that we can play good football in different line-ups and stuff like this. So yes, there will be a few changes I think.
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It would make sense for Klopp to play close to his strongest starting line-up against Chelsea rather than at Southampton. The Reds have a tougher test on Wednesday and also have the chance to get their hands on another bit of silverware.
Of course, Liverpool will be desperate to go toe to toe with Manchester City for the Premier League title once again this season, and dropping any points would be a blow – particularly at the hands of Saints. However, Klopp may fancy his side’s chances at St Mary’s, even if he does make numerous changes to his line-up.
While the visitors would undoubtedly still be the clear favourites, the Reds’ hectic schedule could work in our favour. We are the underdogs in this clash, and if Klopp decides to rest key players, there is a golden opportunity for Ralph Hasenhuttl to really put the European champions under the cosh.
Liverpool’s match against Chelsea comes at a good time for Southampton. There is a clear chance to turn in an intense, aggressive performance to make life incredibly uneasy for Klopp and his men on Saturday.