Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool’s attacking stars, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, saying he won’t play favourites as the competition in the team is now red hot.
“First line-up, run your socks off and play as good as you can for as long as you can. If you can’t do it anymore, another player has to be there to replace you and do the same job — if possible, even better because he is fresher. That’s the idea behind it,” Klopp was quoted as saying by mirror.co.uk
Luis Diaz caught the eye in their FA Cup fourth-round win over Cardiff with an assist for Takumi Minamino’s goal while Harvey Elliott marked his return after five months out injured with a superb strike. The signing of Luis Diaz and impressive return from injury of Harvey Elliott for Liverpool has prompted Klopp to acknowledge he will pick the team on form, not on the previous record.
With the AFCON now complete Mane and Salah will make their way back to Liverpool but Klopp has warned the pair, plus Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, that competition for places is now red hot.
“These boys, over the last few years, did an absolutely incredible job without competition in different positions; they stretched their limits, it’s absolutely unbelievable the development they had. That means now that the boys have to deal with competition, that’s the job they have to do,” he said.
“If there is a player who can play the same position as yourself in quite an impressive way: yeah, you better perform. Because my job is not to stick with the boys — as much as I like them, as much as I owe them, as much as we went through together — my job is to line up the best team for today, not for yesterday. The more top-class options we have, the better it is for the club,” Klopp said.