LONDON (Reuters) – Liverpool’s exertions in their midweek League Cup shootout win over Stoke City mean it will be a much-changed side that faces West Ham United in this weekend’s FA Cup clash, manager Juergen Klopp said on Friday.
Klopp fielded a number of young academy graduates when they beat Exeter City in a replay to come through the FA Cup’s previous round and some of those could find themselves thrown back into action at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool played 120 minutes on Tuesday and then had to go through the nail-biting drama of a penalty shootout to beat Stoke in their semi-final, second leg tie, while Saturday’s opponents West Ham had no midweek distractions.
“Yes. It will be a different team, for sure,” Klopp told a news conference.
“We have to make a few changes, we will make them, but only because we want to win the game.”
West Ham have already beaten Liverpool twice in the league this season, but with Klopp’s squad currently decimated by injuries, his options are limited.
The manager confirmed that captain Jordan Henderson has re-joined an injury list that includes nine of the German’s first team squad, having been substituted during the second half of Tuesday’s match with a recurrence of his long-term heel injury.
While centre back Dejan Lovren, who was on the bench against Stoke, is now back fit and right back Nathaniel Clyne, recovering from a knee injury, is a possibility to face West Ham, Klopp said Daniel Sturridge’s woes are on-going.
The England striker, whose injury problems have ruled him out of the majority of the last two seasons, has not played since suffering a hamstring problem on Dec. 6 and he will miss at least their next two games, his manager said.
“He is still working. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse,” Klopp added.
“He needs consistency in sessions and that’s what we try to do. There’s no doubt about his quality. We have to work together on his fitness.”
Klopp was keeping his cards close to his chest as to whether he will be able to add to his squad in the remainder of the January transfer window, with a number of players including Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira having been linked with a move.
“There is nothing to say. You have to wait, like I have to wait,” Klopp said.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Pritha Sarkar)