Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool can still improve on their outstanding season as he considers handing Fabinho, Dejan Lovren and Joël Matip their first starts of the year at Shrewsbury on Sunday.
Liverpool recorded a 22nd win from 23 Premier League matches at Wolves on Thursday to go 16 points clear at the top with a game in hand on second-placed Manchester City. Klopp is not “even 2%” thinking of a title party but the depth of his formidable squad has increased with the trio in contention to start Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie.
Fabinho made his second substitute appearance since recovering from ankle ligament damage at Wolves but has not started since 27 November, while the central defenders Lovren and Matip have not played since 10 December and 20 October respectively. All three could feature against the League One side, with Klopp also keeping faith with the bulk of the team who beat Everton in the third round.
Klopp, who also has Naby Keïta back in training after injury but is awaiting results of a scan on Sadio Mané’s hamstring, said: “We will have a team with fresh legs and we have players coming back from injury. It makes sense to play them because they are pretty good and we want to go through. It’s a tough place to go, as it always is in cup competitions.”
Klopp insists there will be no let-up from his reigning European champions despite their emphatic lead in the Premier League. “There is no 10% party in my mind, no 15%, no 8% or 2%, there is just no party,” he said.
“After the Wolves game we had this little meeting where I tell the boys what I think. I had to remind myself to say: ‘Congratulations, the result was outstanding’. We have no time to make assessments, we analyse our next opponent and then we go in. It is not that we forget what we have to do better. There is still a lot to improve. That is our life. Anyone in the past who looked like they would win something and then stopped never got rewarded in history.”