Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool can enjoy successful season with smart rotation

MANCHESTER ENGLAND- FEBRUARY 21 Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City FC and AS Monaco at Etihad Stadium

MANCHESTER ENGLAND- FEBRUARY 21 Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City FC and AS Monaco at Etihad Stadium

Liverpool will be without Philippe Coutinho for the visit to the Etihad after Jurgen Klopp decided not to rush him into action despite him being fully fit.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said the Brazil worldwide - who was linked with a move to Barcelona following the departure of his compatriot Neymar to Paris St Germain - was in "a good mood" after returning to Merseyside following global duty. "I'm really, really happy for him", he said.

"The Premier League is generally won - certainly over the last ten, 15 years - by the team with the best defensive record", he noted.

"He has a little problem in his calf and I don't think he will be able to play tomorrow".

Saturday marks the return of Premier League football after the worldwide break, during which 17-year-old Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn starred for Wales in their two FIFA World Cup qualifying victories.

It may be just the fourth round of Premier League matches this weekend, but Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has already predicted that Liverpool will be one of the title contenders this season.

With the opportunity to snatch top spot from Manchester United during Saturday's early kick-off with all three points, Shoot! has put together our very own Manchester City-Liverpool combined XI from the Premier League campaign so far...

"He agreed completely, so it was not as if he said: 'No, I don't need training, I want to play.' It was a good conversation". "Unfortunately we lost him", added Guardiola.

Coutinho cut a glum figure when he returned to Melwood for Liverpool training this week for the first time since the transfer window closed. Alexis Sanchez and Jonny Evans looked to be heading north but deals failed to materialise.

'He has training with us for the last few weeks, ' he said.

This saw the German make five changes to his lineup between those clashes with the Bundesliga outfit, with an altered side winning 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace. "It's not the first time and it won't be the last time that similar things will happen".

From a Liverpool perspective, I can't see them wanting to relinquish possession so it'll be really interesting to see who comes out of this as the more dominant side.

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