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Jurgen Klopp Talks Sadio Mane, Player Rest Before Liverpool Visit Bournemouth

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp the head coach / manager of Liverpool celebrate winning the match at full time after the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has said it will be necessary for him to rotate his Liverpool squad during the Reds' hectic December schedule because football "is not FIFA or the PlayStation."

Because of their involvement in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, Liverpool's December schedule is even more packed than usual for an English side:

B/R Football @brfootball

10 games, 30 days and a trip to Qatar Liverpool’s festive schedule is PACKED 🤯 https://t.co/bqFJJj0jjd

As a result, Klopp was forced to play a weakened side against Everton at Anfield in midweek, when Liverpool maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 5-2 win. 

Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino all started on the bench, but a number of squad players stepped in impressively, with Xherdan Shaqiri scoring in his first start of the season and Divock Origi netting a double.

Klopp hinted he will likely have to rotate again for Saturday's trip to Bournemouth but added Liverpool fortunately have no fresh injury worries:

Paul Gorst @ptgorst

Klopp: "There is no time for rest. Still we have to try to give them rests here and there. The others have to perform."

Paul Gorst @ptgorst

Klopp: "There was no plan to make 30 changes last year (in December) but it is the time to make them, that is clear. That is what we do, 100%. It is not FIFA or the Playstation when players don't need a rest. We have to make these changes, that is clear."

Paul Gorst @ptgorst

Klopp: "Everyone looks OK (injury-wise). Nobody is ruled out,. That is good. It is still three hours until we train, but it should be OK. They all should be fine."

The German manager also backed Sadio Mane to work his way even further up the Ballon d'Or rankings after he finished fourth in the voting for the 2019 award.

Lionel Messi won the prestigious gong for a record sixth time at a ceremony in Paris on Monday. But Liverpool, as European champions, were the most well-represented club in the top 10, with Virgil van Dijk runner-up, Mane fourth, Mohamed Salah fifth and goalkeeper Alisson seventh:

ESPN UK @ESPNUK

OFFICIAL: #BallondOr top 10 1) Messi 2) Van Dijk 3) Ronaldo 4) Mane 5) Salah 6) Mbappe 7) Alisson 8) Lewandowski 9) Bernardo 10) Mahrez https://t.co/eFCgejIvqy

In a video message recorded in response to the result, Mane said he hoped to attend the gala next year to "maybe lift the Ballon d'Or."

Klopp said he is confident Mane can improve even further:

Paul Gorst @ptgorst

Klopp: "Each year Sadio has made good steps. Baresi praised Van Dijk, that is like being crowned by the king! "Sadio can climb that Ballon d'Or chart, he is in a really good way."

Liverpool have had no problem brushing Bournemouth aside in recent seasons. They have won their last four fixtures against the Cherries by a combined score of 14-0, and Eddie Howe's side are also on a four-game losing run.

The hosts may sniff an opportunity to get a shock result on Saturday, though, given Liverpool's schedule.

Unfortunately for Klopp, he cannot afford to field a weakened side on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League because Liverpool need to avoid defeat at Red Bull Salzburg or else risk crashing out at the group stage.