Is a trip to lower mid-table Swansea the cure for what ails them?
Klopp has little room for maneuver as Liverpool has only two narrow paths to European football: win the Europa League or claw their way to sixth in the EPL. Both paths are strewn with obstacles - maybe I should have saved the Empire Strikes Back asteroid clip for this post!
Adding to the degree of difficulty is the injury to key players straining the existing squad and the reality that there are some players who are prone to injury if they get pushed too hard. What is a manager to do?!
And top it off this weekend's EPL match comes with a quick turn-around from the Europa League match.
Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his frustration around match scheduling after learning Liverpool's Sunday fixture against Swansea starts at midday. The team returned home from Spain at 4 a.m. on Friday after the 1-0 Europa League semifinal defeat to Villarreal with their Premier League game in south Wales scheduled to kick off just 56 hours later. Klopp made jokes about the English liking their Sunday lunch but he is less than impressed with the amount of time he has to prepare and any such repetition is likely to see him step in during negotiations over when games are moved to.
The Liverpool Echo writers think Klopp will go with the B-team thus going "all-in" on the Europa league yet figuring they will still be strong enough to get the win against Swansea.
There has been a lot of second guessing of Klopp in the last match for not using Sturridge. We simply don't know what they are saying in the backroom. One possibility is that Klopp is playing "Jedi mind-tricks" to motivate Sturridge. Another possibility is that the sport science team is monitoring Sturridge and felt maybe he needs more rest. The other day I heard the MLS Extra-Time radio podcast interview with Dave Tenney, the head of the performance and sports science staff at the Seattle Sounders. In the discussion, he explained there are many tools available for the staff to quantify and assess player fatigue and strength to make estimates of when they need to push harder and when they need to back off to prevent injury.
In any case, will be interesting to see how many "A-team" members play against Swansea and how many minutes Sturridge will get.
Am not big enough a fan to get up at 4AM to watch from PDT and in this case probably for the best as the "B-team" was taken to the woodshed in a 3-1 loss.
All eyes turn to leg 2 against Villarreal on Thursday.