Klopp to play 'strongest team' in League Cup

The German manager believes he lacks the squad depth to rest key players for the trip to Southampton on Wednesday and hopes Philippe Coutinho will be fit to return

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he will play his strongest team in Wednesday’s League Cup encounter against Southampton as he believes the Reds lack the squad depth to rest key players.

Klopp’s men travel to St Mary’s looking to earn a place in the competition’s semi-finals and the German admitted he does not have a group of players on the fringes of the first team desperate to make an impact.

“In an ideal world, you need six angry players who are not in the squad, but that’s not our situation,” he told reporters. “It will be a puzzle, but it will be the strongest team, for sure.

“The biggest fault you can make is to think about the next round. Our focus is on Southampton only. They’re pretty hot on this game, they’ve lost their last two games and they want to bounce back.

“If we want to go through we have to fight. I knew Southampton from before. They’re a good team, brilliant offensively. [Dusan] Tadic is difficult to play against.

“We’re still far away from the final. I’m excited and looking forward to the game, but you have to respect the situation.”

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Philippe Coutinho could return after a hamstring injury for Liverpool, who welcomed captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge back against Swansea City on Sunday.

“I can’t make a decision about Coutinho right now because we haven’t trained yet,” Klopp added. “But he will be close to being ready. It’s possible that he will play.

“The return of Sturridge and Henderson was good news. They did their job, which was important for us to keep the result. It was not easy.

“Daniel did what we spoke about before. He should be our target for winning balls, be the first option. That’s what he did. Everyone could see Sturridge’s quality.

“We cannot ignore that this game could have overtime, 120 minutes would be too much for both. But if nothing happens from now, they will be in the squad. We have these two options.”

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