Jurgen Klopp has recently discovered the perfect remedy to cope with the gruelling demands of the festive period. Liverpool could have played as many as nine matches by the time December comes to a conclusion.
The FIFA Coach of the Year’s decision to split and alternate the front three has proven to be a stroke of genius. Klopp made 30 changes during the Christmas run-in last season and he looks set to something similar this time around.
Liverpool’s irreplaceable attacking trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are yet to start together in the league as a three during December. Both Firmino and Salah were rested for the Merseyside derby whilst Mane was given the afternoon off against Bournemouth.
This rest period could prove priceless if Liverpool are to finish the decade with their front-line’s injury status firmly intact come the new year.
Klopp has also proven that his squad has adequate cover should the front-three see a dip in performance. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita have all stepped up to the plate after being given some invaluable game time.
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Liverpool scored five goals for the first time in the league this season when Shaqiri and Origi came in against Everton at the expense of Salah and Firmino. The duo scored three goals between them whilst Mane was also on the scoresheet.
Salah was an unused sub that evening with the Egyptian still recovering from a lingering ankle problem. The former Roma star was on a miserable run of only two goals in his previous nine matches.
However, after being given the night off in the derby, Salah responded by scoring and assisting against Bournemouth three days later. He then made it two goals in as many matches against RB Salzburg on Tuesday after an emphatic finish to see Liverpool through to the Champions League knockout stages.
Meanwhile, Firmino is on a similar goal drought to that of Salah with the Brazilian having scored only once in his last 10 league matches.
The former Hoffenheim forward has started 14 of the European champions’ 16 league matches this season meaning Origi could be used to gift Firmino with a much-needed rest. The Belgium international has three goals in three starts in the league for Klopp this campaign.
With three matches in the space of a week for Klopp with only one day separating Liverpool’s Carabao Cup quarter-final vs Aston Villa and their inaugural bout in the FIFA Club World Cup, one thing is for certain, Kopites will see a vast amount of changes in the team this Christmas.