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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hinted that he will opt for strong lineups in their last two UEFA Champions League games, despite their qualification to the round of 16 last night.
Liverpool beat Atletico Madrid for the second game in succession and won their first four games of the Champions League group stage for the first time ever, progressing to the last 16 with first place also confirmed.
However, Jurgen Klopp downplayed the idea that he may tinker with the lineup for the remaining group games.
“The team we line up depends on the situation we are in around the game,” Klopp said to Liverpoolfc.com. “Who was how in the game before, who is the next opponent. That was always [the case], it’s not now just for these games, that’s how it is.
“We changed five times tonight because we don’t consider the Madrid game more important than the West Ham game, for example, so you have to make changes even when players might not like it in a specific moment.
“The Porto game, there is only one difference: we are already qualified. Forget that because we already qualified but all the rest is exactly like it was before. It is a Champions League game, the next one is at home, the game after that is at the San Siro and I’ve never played there, so I’m really excited about that.
“We will play at home [against Porto] and play real football. Can you imagine we play Porto at home, the crowd is really coming from all over the world to watch the games and then you offer, I don’t know, a half-cooked dish?”
His eagerness to win the final two games can be backed up by his choice to play the likes of Fabinho, Mo Salah and Diogo Jota against Midtjylland in their final group game last season after they had achieved the same feat with one game to go.
Kostas Tsimikas also played that night and himself and Jota were taken off after picking up injuries.
Jota, who had been a regular figure in matchday squads and starting eleven in the lead-up to the game in Norway, missed 18 games as a result of his injury.
“That is pretty not much how it will be [choosing a weak squad]. We go for it, we want to win football games, that’s all.
“Sometimes you can qualify for something, sometimes not, it is still the same thing – you play a game, you want to win it, show it.”