Jurgen Klopp has defended his absence from Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth-round replay win over Shrewsbury and insists it is ‘important we keep’ the Premier League’s winter break.
The Liverpool manager chose not to attend the club’s replay meeting with the League One side earlier this month, U23 manager Neil Critchley overseeing proceedings at Anfield as a side made up entirely of youth players secured a 1-0 win and the club’s passage to a fifth-round meeting with Chelsea.
Klopp’s actions would draw criticism from sections of the media as he chose to fully adhere to the Premier League‘s winter break rather than attending the rearranged cup fixture, though ahead of this weekend’s trip to face Norwich, the German has defended his decision and says the mid-season break is of huge importance ahead of a defining period in the season for the league leaders.
“It is very important we keep this winter break. This time we had a few things to discuss about and to decide, I didn’t like it but I had to,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference.
“Then I went on holiday. People can say and think what they like about it, I cannot change and I’m not interested really. When I heard, ‘This team has 17 days or 12 days [rest]’ – they don’t have that.
“We trained since Monday, it was exactly a week they had and in that week the boys trained, just not here.
“It is not a break like you would think a break is, it is just a different time that which we think we really need to recharge the batteries for the most decisive period in the season.”
Klopp insists his decision to rest his entire first-team for the clash against Shrewsbury was not meant to disrespect to the competition, but expressed his delight at seeing the young side progress as the club look to bring further silverware to Merseyside this season.
“I was very pleased with the performance and the result especially,” he added. “We did what we did not to go out of the competition, we have a really good chance with the boys.
“These boys are our boys, we always use them. It was always clear that we wanted to use them. We will see who we have available around the Chelsea game.
“At the moment it looks quite comfortable, hopefully it stays like this. The team [for Chelsea] will probably look different from the team who played Shrewsbury but we always line up to win the game.”