Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp defended his decision to name a much-changed line-up for the FA Cup third round clash at Wolves, as his side exited the competition in the early stages once again.
Klopp left Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench and only threw them into the fray when his side were chasing an equaliser late on, but they failed to come back as they lost 2-1.
Criticism of a Klopp team selection featuring nine changes from last Thursday's 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, will now be inevitable, but the German insisted he had no choice on a night when his more experienced back-up players came up short once again.
"After the City game we immediately had a few players who were ill, who showed a sore threat and all you can have in this period of the year," he explained.
"So we had to make late changes. Yesterday, Adam (Lallana) was in our plans, like Hendo (Jordan Henderson) was in the plans. Dejan (Lovren) was not in the plans, he should only have been on the bench and then what happened, happened.
"That doesn't help a lot and we had to change again. We wanted to control the game because we were completely new, especially defensively. So it makes sense that you keep the ball. The wind didn't help with that, to be honest, obviously everybody on the pitch struggled a bit with controlling the ball and the first touch was, very often, not that good. They lost a lot of balls, we lost a lot of balls. In the end, one of the balls we lost was a counter-attack and they score a goal.
"I changed a lot because I thought we had to, not because I wanted to and to say, 'come on, let's have a look at how that works' because it was clear Wolves would not change a lot. The problem is, we played a similar line-up and had three tough games in the last couple of weeks, so it was clear we had to change. That's it, that's all.
"Second half, we wanted to start new, finding a positive approach again, do it just a little bit better than the first half. We scored a goal. Then Neves from long range with the wind at his back, nice little shot. We hit the crossbar and the story of the game was done.
"We brought Mo (Salah) and Bobby (Firmino) on and it looked obviously a little bit different. But the intensity of the last few games gave me the information it was not possible to start with these three up front.
"Only Dejan played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks, pretty much all the games, that's why he was not involved (in the original plans). He played today and was injured. That's the story of the game."
Klopp refused claims his line-up was disrespectful to the FA Cup's proud history, as as he argued that was a reason why he picked so many first team players.
"I am not sure what you all would have said if immediately from the beginning if our centre-half situation was Fabinho and Ki-Jana (Hoever), then probably a few very smart people would tell me that I don't respect the competition or whatever," he continued.
"So, we tried to do all the things. Of course, on the other hand, it doesn't make sense to bring in a 16-year-old boy from the start. You don't bring him, you wait until he is completely ready, but he did well. He came on and did well. That's how it sometimes starts - when you are really needed then it is only about if you are good enough and not how old you are."
Klopp also revealed defender Lovren suffered a hamstring injury that forced him out of the action in the opening minutes, as he admitted the Croatian defender was only drafted into his side due to late withdrawals from other players.
"Hamstring is what I heard, without any signs before," added Klopp of Lovren's injury. "I asked everybody, no signs, nothing, just out of the blue, so that's the decision you have to make."
JURGEN Klopp, with that supernova smile, the optimistic cast to his face, his innate recognition of Anfield as a garden for the people, can resemble a bearded, bespectacled endorphin.