Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has told his forwards they must share the workload as they prepare to play a gruelling nine games in 29 days.
Liverpool will host Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday, followed by away fixtures against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, before their final Europa League group match against Union Saint Gilloise.
Klopp’s squad will then face matches against Manchester United, West Ham United in the EFL Cup quarter-finals, Arsenal, and Burnley, all before hosting Newcastle United on New Year’s Day.
In the absence through injury of Diogo Jota, Klopp said playing time would be shared among the rest of Liverpool’s forwards.
“This is the most intense period in world football coming up now, that’s how it is, for all the teams,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“So they will all play. We have already Diogo not in so that is not helpful and we have to share these minutes with different players. They have to perform, not always 90 but 60, 70 and at full throttle.”
With injuries to other key players, including keeper Alisson and left back Andy Robertson, Klopp was unsure if he would be able to consistently rotate his squad.
“It depends on the players we have available,” he said.
“We have to make sure we have as many available as much as you can have influence on it, which we don’t have really. We watch it, take what we get, and go from there.”
Cody Gakpo returned to the starting lineup and scored twice in their 4-0 home win against Austrian side LASK in the Europa League on Thursday and the Dutchman will provide competition for Darwin Nunez in the central striking role.
The German manager, however, said a number of players would need to step up.
“Darwin is in a top moment, super important for us, and that he didn’t start against LASK has nothing to do with anything else,” Klopp said.
“Now Cody scored twice, fantastic. Does that mean he has to play the next five games in a row? Other players score as well, it’s not about that, and Cody doesn’t expect that. They have to score, that’s the job, that’s what they want, but it’s not that I now have sleepless nights and don’t know how to start. It’s not that much of a choice, to be honest.”
Klopp said midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who has been sidelined with a hip injury since April, still needed time for his recovery. REUTERS