Reds will have Christmas presence, says Klopp

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scoring his second goal during his side's 3-0 victory against Stoke City on Wednesday. Jurgen Klopp says the Reds have sufficient depth to get through their games in the lead-up to Christmas.
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scoring his second goal during his side's 3-0 victory against Stoke City on Wednesday. Jurgen Klopp says the Reds have sufficient depth to get through their games in the lead-up to Christmas.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes he has the options to nurse his squad through their hectic pre-Christmas period despite relying on Mohamed Salah to seal a 3-0 win at Stoke City.

The forward came off the bench to net a brace after he and Philippe Coutinho were among those rotated as Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino returned to the starting XI on Wednesday.

Liverpool have made 48 changes to their starting line-up this season - 11 more than any other team.

And Klopp feels he has the depth to get through the six games before Christmas even though he was forced to play an unfit Dejan Lovren in defence after Ragnar Klavan pulled out through illness.

"I'm happy about the options we have," said the German after Liverpool rose to fifth place in the Premier League table.

"We have options to change it. Adam Lallana is not fit for another three or four days, but I'm happy about our options."

He saw Mane open the scoring before Salah scored twice to take his tally for the season to 17 goals in all competitions.

Not since Robbie Fowler, who also had 17 goals before December in 1994-95, has a Red had such a prolific start to the season.

"Thank God Salah keeps scoring," said Klopp of the Egyptian forward, who is the Premier League's leading scorer with 12 goals.

The night was not without controversy, though. Stoke complained that Mane's goal should not have stood as they felt the ball went out of play in the build-up and Mark Hughes was furious that Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was not sent off for tripping Mame Biram Diouf on the edge of the box just before half-time.

"It's frustrating," said the Stoke manager, whose side fell to 16th place.

"The one thing you want from referees and officials is to get the big, key decisions right - the match-defining decisions - and he didn't."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2017, with the headline 'Reds will have Christmas presence, says Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe