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'Respect the players' – Klopp hints at rotated Liverpool side against Everton

Jurgen Klopp has hinted that he will play a rotated side when Liverpool meet Everton in an FA Cup third round Merseyside derby this weekend.

The Premier League leaders begin their FA Cup campaign against their local rivals at Anfield this Sunday, having overcome a congested festive fixture list that saw the club play nine fixtures across four different competitions throughout December.

The club’s clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton comes less than 72 hours after their 2-0 victory over Sheffield United last night, and Klopp has hinted that he could look to rest and rotate ahead of the fixture.

Since arriving in English football just over four years ago, Klopp has largely opted to field second-string sides in cup competitions, and the Reds boss suggested he could do the same again, saying he must ‘respect’ his players in a bid to avoid overplaying his key personnel.

New signing Takumi Minamino is in contention to make his debut after joining from RB  Salzburg, the Japanese international eligible to make his first appearance after completing his move from the Austrian champions.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Harvey Elliott and academy graduate Curtis Jones could also be set to feature for an injury-hit Liverpool, the teenage duo having been named amongst the substitutes for Thursday night’s victory over Chris Wilder’s side.

Speaking on potential changes, Klopp said: “Whatever happens tomorrow, people told me already that I wouldn’t respect cup competitions.

“That’s not true, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion.

“My first job is to respect the players. I see them all the time and I have to make the decision if it is allowed to play them again.”

Liverpool’s options have been depleted by injuries to several first-team stars, midfielder Naby Keita joining the injury list after pulling out during the warm-up for the win over Sheffield United.

The Guinea international will have a scan on a groin problem, joining the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines.

“He (Naby Keita) will have a scan today. Shaqiri will not be available tomorrow. Oxlade looks good, Dejan Lovren looks good. Fabinho is out on the pitch doing running stuff.

“Our only problem is the games come so quick Most of them will not be available tomorrow night. We will see the next game what is possible.”

Ancelotti admits Everton will have to be ‘perfect’ to beat Liverpool

See also – Player Analysis: Examining how Takumi Minamino can further improve Liverpool