Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had some some interesting things to say about this weekend's league match against Tottenham Hotspur. With a critical (and narrative-laden) home-and-home series against his old club Dortmund in the Europa League looming, Klopp held a special German language press conference for members of the German media. Much of the interview concerned Liverpool's trip to Dortmund next week, but Klopp did let slip a little info about his priorities for the remainder of the season.
Man hat den Eindruck, nicht alle englischen Mannschaften nehmen die Europa League ernst ...
"Die erste Erfahrung, die man macht, wenn man nach England kommt, ist, dass man über den englischen Fußball nichts weiß. Der Terminplan ist tatsächlich unfassbar. Der Gewinn der Premier League steht über allem. Da muss man manchmal auch mal andere Spieler spielen lassen, wenn man so viele Partien hat. Tottenham ist hier die einzige Mannschaft, die Leicester noch einholen kann. Deren Entscheidung musste man respektieren. Wir haben leider nicht mehr die Chance, Meister zu werden. Deshalb werden wir sicher niemanden schonen."
Roughly translated from the German:
One has the impression, not all English teams take the Europa League seriously ...
"The first thing you learn when you come to England is that you know nothing about English football. The schedule is really unbelievable. Winning the Premier League is everything. Sometimes you have to play other players or leave some out when you have so many games. Tottenham is the only team that can still catch Leicester. Their decision [to play a strong team] has to be respected. Unfortunately, we no longer have the chance to be league champions. Therefore, we will certainly spare no one.
Liverpool has exactly one path to the Champions League this season: by winning the Europa League. Their league campaign is essentially dead in the water. They can qualify for Europa League again by finishing fifth in the league, but the Europa League represents their one last major competition in which they have a chance to actually win something.
So Klopp's comments here are interesting. That last sentence is a little ambiguous, but I don't think he's implying that he'll be playing full strength side against Spurs on Saturday. In fact, I think it's the opposite.
Don't think that Klopp going to roll out a B-team or play the kids on Saturday against Spurs – the Liverpool fanbase wouldn't stand for that, especially at Anfield and against a major league rival. But his comments here does make me suspect that Klopp will rotate in order to keep his best 11 healthy for the trip to Germany next Thursday. That would certainly be good for Spurs as Tottenham haven't won at Anfield since 2011.
With Spurs five points from the top of the league with seven league matches left to play, the pressure is on Tottenham to keep winning if they're going to have any chance of catching Leicester City. That makes Saturday's match at Anfield critical. Liverpool is dangerous and won't roll over under any circumstances, but if Klopp is to be believed, Liverpool has more important things to think about than Spurs. That's good enough to give me a little more hope heading into Saturday.