Jurgen Klopp will have to choose between games against FC Porto and Cardiff City to rest his front three.
The game away in Wales brings an end to Liverpool’s busy post-international break period. The Reds have had to balance games away at Southampton and at home to Chelsea with their Champions League quarter-finals.
And that period has seen Klopp utilise Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino in all three games so far. The front three have been impeccable but their legs will surely need a rest.
Should Liverpool defeat Porto, the break between Cardiff and the following week’s game with Huddersfield will be their last before the season ends. It isn’t a full week break, though, with just five days separating the two matches.
For that reason, resting now feels vital, making sure that his key trio are fully fit for an intense run-in. You don’t want exhausted players hoping to recover over five days – you want that time to be them getting back to their fittest.
Both games against Cardiff and Porto see Liverpool as strong favourites, as Klopp will know. Both are enormous games, however, and he’ll be unwilling to take too many chances. So while he can perhaps afford to rest players, he won’t want the foot to be taken off the gas.
Perhaps the key is resting one against Porto, two against Cardiff (or vice-versa), thus not losing too much firepower for either game.
Where he takes his chance may be vital, though. It’s very difficult to imagine that we’ll see a full-strength Liverpool in both games.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s return to the fold against Chelsea suggests he may have a bigger part to play over the coming weeks. Perhaps that starts in Porto, perhaps in Wales – either way, Klopp needs to make a big decision.