What Jurgen Klopp did after 59 minutes at Newcastle demonstrates how much Liverpool has changed.

Jurgen and allison
Jurgen and allison

At first look, they appear to be statistical anomalies in Liverpool’s increasingly erratic Premier League season

But, the statements made by Jürgen Klopp could not have been more dissimilar.

As Liverpool floundered to a humiliating defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion last month – a day Klopp considers to be his worst as a manager – Klopp took one last chance and introduced four substitutes off the bench at the same time.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

The first time Klopp made such a move in the Premier League, it was a clear indication of his discontent with what had occurred throughout the preceding three-quarters of the match. If he could, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would have changed practically everyone.

Nevertheless, when Klopp repeated the trick after 59 minutes against Newcastle United on Saturday evening, the reasons were mostly good, except from an injury concern for Darwin Nunez.

Nevertheless, even if he hadn’t suffered the shoulder injury that has him questioning his health for Real Madrid’s Champions League visit on Tuesday, Nunez would have most likely joined Jordan Henderson, Stefan Bajcetic, and Cody Gakpo in being given a rest ahead of the visit.

Gakpo Cody.
Gakpo Cody.

The most positive part was that it gave Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino more crucial minutes after long-term injury absences, kept Harvey Elliott a constant, and gave James Milner a chance to go around smashing challenges into players from one of his many old teams.

Naby Keita and Joel Matip, both recent Liverpool starters, did not make the bench. Even with Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate, and Thiago Alcantara still out, there was no room in the matchday squad for Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, or Fabio Carvalho.

Klopp now has great alternatives all the way through his squad after struggling for options in various areas of the team for much of the season, with Virgil van Dijk impressing at St James’ Park on his first outing in six weeks following a hamstring ailment.

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

Moreover, with the Reds currently in the midst of an eight-game stretch in 29 days, the option to rotate will be critical in maintaining momentum heading into next month’s international break. Alisson Becker concurs. “That was something that our squad needed,” the goalkeeper adds. “The enthusiasm of the returning players was required. They are crucial to our success. The others kept working hard; things weren’t going well, but that’s how things work sometimes.”

More choices imply more rivalry for places, and Nunez, Gakpo, and Mohamed Salah have all scored since Jota and Firmino returned to the matchday squad last Monday against Everton.

Jota is one of the returnees who would benefit the most from continued first-team exposure. He has been sidelined three times since the Champions League final last season, twice by hamstring problems and once by calf problems, missing pre-season, more than two-thirds of Liverpool’s season, and the World Cup with Portugal.

Diogo Jota's
Diogo Jota’s

Jota looked every inch the player anxious to impress during his cameo against Newcastle, and he could easily have grabbed a hat-trick in the final stages with a little more calmness as the 10-man hosts ultimately fatigued.

How desperately the 26-year-old requires a goal. Following a barren period at the conclusion of last season, Jota has now gone 23 games without finding the back of the net for the Reds. True, there have been nine assists in that span, but only about half of those appearances have been as a starter. But, for a guy who scored 34 goals in his first 72 Liverpool appearances – a goal virtually every other game – the lack of firepower will undoubtedly be on his mind.

But it won’t endure forever. Yet, with Liverpool now in a position to rotate their attacking resources, Jota and his teammates may be poised to deliver as the season nears its conclusion.

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