Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he does not have a deep enough squad to prioritise cup glory over Premier League success.
Liverpool are also still alive in the FA Cup and the Europa League, but Klopp insisted he cannot rest players in preparation for the Potters clash as the main focus is the Premier League, and injuries are prevalent, per James Pearce in the Liverpool Echo:
How could I prioritise? You know I could not do this, I don’t have the players to do this. Should I play with the Exeter team again and then go into the Stoke game and don’t know if it works? We have to go through the situation. Maybe Adam [Lallana] is not ready for Saturday, but hopefully then he will be fresh for Tuesday. It’s the same with Dejan Lovren. Maybe Saturday is too short for him. Maybe he can train on Sunday and then we could think about what we will do against Stoke.
The rest? I have to take what I have and make a starting line up, play the game. Both games for us are very important. We lost the last Premier League game. We haven’t won the last three or four Premier League games so we should be fully focused on the Norwich game. It never works in life where you concentrate on the second step and hope the first step works. Norwich, game No 1, and then we will see.
The Reds have had major consistency issues since Klopp took over the top job in October, registering excellent victories over Chelsea and Manchester City but losing to the likes of Newcastle United and Manchester City.
In 2016 they have yet to pick up a league win, losing twice—most recently to rivals Manchester United—and drawing once.
They claimed a morale-boosting win with a very young side midweek in their FA Cup third-round replay against Exeter City, but Klopp's team selection for that match was indicative of where his priorities lie.
Will Liverpool finish the 2015-16 Premier League season in the top four?
Undoubtedly the main aim is to return the Reds to the Champions League, and the German manager admitted that he would like to have picked up six more points from his first 14 league games in charge at Anfield, per Pearce: "I know we are on a good way. But I would like to have six points more, closer to the other region of the table, that would be perfect."
Given the unpredictability of the Premier League this season, Liverpool are still firmly in contention to finish in the top four, with 16 games of the season remaining.
If Klopp can engineer a succession of victories then his side should move up the standings rapidly, and wins against teams such as the Canaries—who are only two points clear of relegation—are essential.
Due to Liverpool's lack of depth, rumours have abounded that Klopp may make some additions in January, with Shakhtar Donetsk's Alex Teixeira heavily linked with the Reds, per Andy Hunter in the Guardian.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe recently analysed how Liverpool's team might be adjusted if the Brazilian were to come in:
Klopp will have to rely on his current crop for Saturday's clash at Carrow Road, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino set to return to the side having sat out the Exeter clash.
However, there have been flashes under Klopp that they could return to the upper echelons of English football, and the former Borussia Dortmund boss will be eager to see his team kick-start a run to the top four against Norwich.