Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained that he has offered a much-changed starting XI for the final Premier League fixture of the season against Newcastle in order to play a cavalier attacking game.
The champions have stuttered since claiming the league title, picking up 10 points in their last six matches, but they bounced back on Wednesday with a thrilling 5-3 victory over Chelsea.
Klopp is hoping that his side can replicate that form against Newcastle – a fixture he has promised his team will be going all out to win, despite only Alisson, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum retaining their places in the starting XI.
“I tried to make sure we have fresh legs on the field and that we really can go for it because we love football, because we want to win football games. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what I can expect but I’m excited about it. It will be interesting,” he told the club’s official website.
“It’s easy for me to find plenty of reasons why you should win a football game. Again, the things around are different, I said that already before the Chelsea game.
“Chelsea played for everything, you saw that, and I wanted to see us fight like we play for everything. And that was exactly the case. The boys were incredible in that game. Something like that I would expect today as well, the boys love football and love hard work. If they put that in, we can be good; if not, then we still have a chance because we don’t know exactly what Newcastle are doing.
“Newcastle played already a while like this, like we do if you want, because they are safe for weeks or months already. They have a good team.
“I know Steve [Bruce] has a few injury problems, I think in defence. But offensively, that’s proper quality. That’s what we prepare for, so that we are really ready.”
The former Borussia Dortmund coach reiterated that his side will have to retain their focus throughout.
“I think and I hope we will have the ball the majority of the time, that means protection must be perfect because whatever system they play – and they played pretty much all the systems during the season – there’s one or two strikers they leave up front and that’s quite a challenge for protection. So we have to be spot on,” he said.
Liverpool are seeking their 32nd league win of the season and will move onto 99 points with victory at St James’ Park.