Jurgen Klopp has vowed to continue rotating his Liverpool squad – and hopes Thiago Alcantara is not facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
A Reds team sporting six changes – including a debut for £36million centre-back signing Ibrahima Konate – earned a hard-fought 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday.
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita scored the goals that extended Liverpool’s unbeaten top-flight run to 15 games and moved them top of the table.
Trent Alexander-Arnold had been due to start but was ill a few hours before the game and was replaced at right-back by James Milner, while Joel Matip was left out of the 20-man squad altogether.
And Klopp explained: “We had to do the changes, that was clear.
“After breakfast this morning, Trent didn’t feel right. We planned to start him. But Milly did an incredible job, I am pretty sure he enjoyed that game today!
“Joel is not injured or anything, we just left him out the squad so there was no danger of bringing him on.
“A whole new last line all of a sudden, who had never played together, and the midfield I think only played once together before. The front three knew each other, let me say it like this.
“But we had to do it. You saw the intensity of the game, and we had to pay for that in the second half. We were not that clear any more, yes we scored the goals but we weren’t that clear any more (in our play).
“Crystal Palace really put an extra shift in and brought on more offensive players, chipped the balls in behind our full-backs and we had to run a lot.
“We had to defend with skill or luck or Ali, but we did it.”
Thiago was forced off shortly after the hour with a calf complaint having been an impressive performer in midfield.
Liverpool will now wait for a full assessment on the injury, and Klopp - despite admitting 'the win is a little bit overshadowed' - hopes it will not be a serious lay-off for the Spaniard.
Liverpool are likely to ring the changes again on Tuesday when they travel to Norwich City for their League Cup third round tie.
And asked if he was committed to rotating more often, Klopp said: “Yeah, I think we did in the past as well but maybe not often enough.
“You want to line up the best possible team and that has different factors, today it was rhythm or freshness and we decided for freshness.
“We will rotate, we always rotated but in the last years we couldn’t rotate really in the last line as there weren’t enough players fit.
“In midfield hopefully we have numbers to do it because it is the engine room of the team and we need to make changes there, and up front we have opportunities.
“That’s good. How often we do it, I didn’t make a plan already for the season but as often as necessary and possible.”