Jurgen Klopp has explained the reasoning behind leaving Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane on the bench for Liverpool’s clash against Watford on Saturday.
Alexander-Arnold was left out of the England squad over the international break due to a hamstring issue, but returned to full training earlier this week.
Mane, meanwhile, helped Senegal qualify for the World Cup as they beat Egypt on penalties to secure their place at Qatar 2022.
But neither start for the Reds in Saturday’s crucial Premier League meeting, with Alexander-Arnold only training once and Mane returning from Senegal on Friday.
‘Trent Alexander-Arnold trained yesterday and looks really good but I think it’s sensible to keep him on the bench. He is ready to come on. He is fully fit but trained only once so does not make too much sense,’ Klopp told BT Sport ahead of kick-off.
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‘Sadio Mane stayed in Senegal for another night and only came back yesterday so that’s the reason. We can bring them all on. Sadio looked top in training but we had to make the decision without really knowing how they will come back.
‘Luis Diaz is on the bench because he was in Colombia. It is always tricky. We had to wait until the last minute really to make decisions.’
‘One game at a time. We are not looking any differently. Every opponent deserves maximum respect,’ Klopp added on facing Watford.
‘That’s the starting point for us today, that we make sure we are really compact and don’t give anything away, then we can start our game. It has to be high standards. These kinds of games are like finals for us, that’s clear. We have to keep going.’