Jurgen Klopp is adamant Liverpool won’t use the Europa League to give fringe players minutes – but admits he doesn’t yet know if his team will be capable of competing on two major fronts this season.
The Reds return to the competition for the first time in more than seven years when they take on LASK here in Linz on Thursday evening.
Klopp, who has taken a strong 23-man squad to Austria, is expected to make a raft of changes from the starting line-up that won 3-1 at Wolves last Saturday to continue Liverpool’s impressive start to the Premier League season.
But the Reds boss has refused to provide any team news pointers other than to intimate players will have to earn their places.
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“Absolutely no information at all about that,” said Klopp on Wednesday when asked if fringe players will be given an opportunity. “You will have to wait tomorrow and have a look at the line-up and enjoy it or don’t. But accept it, and then we go.
“We are here to compete, not to give opportunities. Not to (just) give opportunities for our players, or for them (Linz).”
Deadline-day signing Ryan Gravenberch is vying for a full debut, while the likes of Kostas Tsimikas, Wataru Endo, Harvey Elliott, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Ben Doak and Caoimin Kelleher could come into the XI.
The new-look Liverpool have taken 13 points from 15 in the league this season and are unbeaten in 16 games, a run that stretches back to early April.
And while the Reds were hit by the travel delays that affected many in the region on Wednesday, Klopp believes even that gave him reason for encouragement.
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