Rotation, that word again!

Considering Liverpool’s tricky home game with Stoke City

The Potters visit Anfield this weekend for the early Saturday kick off in a match which sees Liverpool arguably not the favourites to win.  Our depleted numbers and looming Semi-Final second leg clash with Roma makes this a genuine opportunity for Stoke to grab some vital points.

“We are desperate for points, like Stoke are. From my point of view, this is the game of the season.”

Words from Jurgen Klopp suggest that he will go full strength for this fixture and try to win all three points, effectively making the trip to Stamford Bridge a dead rubber.  However with Liverpool’s injury crisis leaving us with just three senior midfield players as well as rumours that Sadio Mane is carrying a knock, it would be alarming as well as surprising to see a full strength Liverpool take to the pitch on Saturday.

Lack of depth

The fact that Camacho, Jones and Woodburn are all likely to feature in the final three Premier League games is a real issue for a club with genuine ambition of reaching the very top once again. Steven Gerard has no doubt coached these lads well and seems very confident they will push on into the first team, as he recently affirmed with Liverpoolfc.com:

“They are there, they are knocking on the door and they are close.”

`It would be genuinely fantastic to see the lads join Trent in the first team.  More than just idealism though, it may turn out to be a stark necessity for Liverpool, that they not only need them to play, but play well in the coming weeks.  However, their elevation to first team status along with Woodburn should serve to highlight the need for massive investment in the summer.

Kieta’s arrival will be a big boost, but with Can probably leaving and Lallana increasingly crocked, we cannot find ourselves in this position at the business end of next season.  At least one top class midfielder / attacker needs to be added to bolster the ranks and give Liverpool’s first XI a breather in these kinds of games.

Another rapid forward is also a must as Mane’s twenty-one match run is nothing to cheer about, albeit spectacularly brave and dedicated from the wide-man.  As previously mentioned in other articles, we cannot burn these players out, and given our frenetic style and endless pressing game, it is no surprise to see players picking up knocks.

Line-up

We’ve all season that rotation leaves you vulnerable to dropping points, but Liverpool really cannot afford any more injuries.  Mane, Firmino and Mo must be wrapped up and protected if we are to push on to Kiev and win number six. Klopp isn’t wrong when he says we are desperate for points, as for every one we drop, Chelsea and Spurs will be buoyed.  The risk though does seem too great at the moment as we all live in fear of any more players pulling up a signalling a knock to the bench with a grave look in their eyes.

The German said he would get “creative” with the selections, following the sad end to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s season, so it really will be interesting to see who lines up at lunch time tomorrow.  The aforementioned youngsters will likely be on the bench; Solanke, Klavan, Clyne, Ings and Moreno must also play.  One favourable theory was a back three of Gomez, Klavan and Lovren with Van Dijk rested.  This would allow the full backs to get forward and hopefully not leave us flat and slow.  We must also be wary of the age old direct ball from Paul Lambert’s men.  No doubt former Kopp favourite Pete Crouch will be licking his lips.

Swansea could well do the Reds a favour at home to Chelsea as they too need points to steer themselves clear of relegation.  But other teams helping Liverpool out doesn’t happen too often does it?

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