Home News Jurgen Klopp says his ‘smart’ forwards understand Liverpool’s rotation situation

Jurgen Klopp says his ‘smart’ forwards understand Liverpool’s rotation situation


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his “smart” players understand and embrace the increased competition for places up front.

The five forwards he has at his disposal have contributed 30 goals so far this season but only Mohamed Salah, who has 10, is a guaranteed starter every week.

Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz -unavailable for the last two matches due to his father’s kidnapping in Colombia – have all made an impact when they have been selected and despite Klopp’s rotation they all appear to gel well together.

“The boys are all smart. The good thing is we have really only smart players, that means they understand they cannot play all the games,” he said.

“It’s not, ‘I want to play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday.’ That’s just not possible but everybody sees (it that way) as well.

“That’s how a smart footballer should think and our boys do that: ‘If I can’t play then it’s better we have another really good player who can play the position’. That’s exactly how I see it.

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Luis Díaz (hidden) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s only four (because of Diaz’s absence) all of a sudden but there are a lot of games still coming if you see the schedule – after the international break it turns completely crazy – so in that time we have to be ready.

“If you want to play a successful season and not only have successful spells, you need the boys through all these different phases.

“We have to get through this and with not a lot of injuries (and then) we have really the joys but if not the boys have just to fight through it.

“For the moment it’s OK, but we need it like this for pretty much the rest of the season, to be honest.”

Of all their front five Cody Gakpo is probably the unsung hero.

The Netherlands international has scored on his last four starts, netting the first goal in three of those, but has been the player sacrificed the most to accommodate holes in the squad as he started the campaign in midfield.

“If we have everybody available it was never the plan to put Cody there but it was for him something new after (playing) the false nine last year,” added Klopp.

“But he’s a super-smart player so he can adapt to that and we want him to adapt.

“He’s just a versatile striker, he can play everywhere up front there. For us it’s super-important. He arrives in the box, he is a good shooter, he has a good nose for the situation.

“How I said, the boys up front all like each other, there’s not this battle of ‘Will I start?’ They know they can all play together.”

Liverpool head to Luton on Sunday looking for their first clean sheet away from Anfield in any competition this season but are on six-match unbeaten run, winning the last four.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates, Everton, Anfield (Alamy Image)

As it stands they are in a four-way race for the title but Klopp is keen not to get too excited about how well they have started.

“It’s so early. I’m so happy that we have a really good team together but look at the other teams, they are really good as well,” he said.

“A lot of really good teams are out there and it’s the Premier League so it’s not about celebrating the moment and being relieved that we kind of can play football again.

“No, it’s really about digging into the season, use the full potential of this group, get everything out of it and then let’s see.”