Klopp buoyed by progress
Published 07/11/2015 | 02:30
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp continues to see progress in his side and that is not only being reflected in results.
The Reds registered their first away win in Europe since December 2012 with youngster Jordon Ibe on target in the 1-0 victory against Rubin Kazan in Russia on Thursday night.
They had previously drawn all their Europa League games this season 1-1, but after three wins in succession in three different competitions, the team are starting to gain some momentum.
Klopp has kept changes to a minimum in his team selections - he made four against Kazan with niggles affecting Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana - but insists he does not have a preferred first XI.
"I only make the teams to win the next game, not to give a player rest if he doesn't need it," he said. "We had Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho with some problems so they were on the bench.
"Coutinho had a little bit of a hamstring [problem]. I didn't want to risk it and wanted to win without them. We changed some things to create more and I'm really satisfied how we did it.
"This squad is big enough and strong enough. We did not fly here for a friendly game. We are four weeks together and have more experience together."
Klopp has warned the 19-year-old Ibe he still has plenty to learn despite his maiden goal in his 30th appearance.
After an encouraging start to his Anfield career, Ibe has been something of a peripheral figure this season, even under Klopp's predecessor Brendan Rodgers, who promoted him to the first team.
And in the week photographs of the team training showed Klopp offering Ibe his glasses after failing to pull off a simple pass, the teenager showed in Russia he can make an impression.
"He is a good lad and a big talent, a very skilled player," added the German. "He has a really good base and he feels good at this moment but he has to work on things and he has a lot to learn.
"If he is prepared for this then everything will be good."
Coutinho is expected to return, however, for tomorrow's visit of Crystal Palace. Captain Jordan Henderson is gradually edging closer to fitness after an operation on a broken foot and has started some light running sessions but he is still a few weeks away from being in contention.
For Palace, Dwight Gayle faces a late fitness test on his hamstring while Lee Chung-yong is also struggling.