Graeme Souness believes Jurgen Klopp opted to leave Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino out of his starting XI to face Burnley due to the Reds' upcoming FA Cup tie with Manchester United.

The Clarets were given a pre-match boost by Klopp's decision to withdraw the two forwards from his starting XI, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi coming in to replace the usual ever-presents.

And Souness believes the decision was informed by his former side's second meeting with their title rivals in the space of a week, albeit in a different competition.

"We're trying to read into Jurgen's thinking here, they have got an FA Cup tie at the weekend and normally that wouldn't be very important to them but it's Manchester United they're playing," he said.

"And you're just wondering if he is trying to rest up Salah and Firmino for that one. One is 28, one is 29. They're not bang at it, maybe he feels they need a rest. If he doesn't involve them next weekend that's 10 days until the next league game.

"I am sure the priority for Liverpool is the Premier League, this is a risky game for them tonight. Burnley can dig results out, they defend well, they're well-organised... yes, they struggle to score goals, but that will change for them. I just hope it's not tonight.

"But when you look at Liverpool, the players they have got and the starting XI, they can bring their subs on if they need to, they should have enough."

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Liverpool go into the game knowing any dropped points against the Clarets, who have frustrated them twice at Anfield in recent seasons, could hand a title-race advantage to either of the Manchester clubs but Souness believes Klopp's side will come good.

"They are 18 points off where they were last year so it tells you they're not performing to the same level," he added.

"For two years they have been so good, consistency levels have been off the charts. My concern tonight is the midfield they have got with [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago and [Georginio] Wijnaldum.

"Ordinarily, Liverpool's midfield over the last three years has been about intensity, about aggression, pressure at every opportunity, never making life easy for the defenders and getting the ball into the front three very, very quickly.

"I don't think you will see that tonight, Thiago is a little craftsman, Oxlade is similar. If I'm in that dressing room, I'm saying they know they've not reached those heights of what we expect and where we've been the last three years but if we win we are only three points off the leaders.

"And you would take that because you're believing that sooner or later you are going to get to those levels that made you the best team in England and the best team in Europe. You don't become a bad team overnight."