Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his decision to rotate his squad for the match against Newcastle United despite his side suffering a 2-0 defeat. The Reds arrived to the game in excellent form after booking a place in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup with a 6-1 midweek victory at Southampton.
But Liverpool could not extend their good run under Klopp after suffering their second defeat since the German took charge after replacing Brendan Rodgers in October. The manager made six changes to the team who beat the Saints, leaving the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi on the bench despite the attacking pair scoring two and three goals respectively in the cup tie.
Klopp brought Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Jordon Ibe back into the side for the game at St James' Park but they failed to make the impact expected. However, the manager believes he was right to change his team ahead of the busy Christmas period.
"I have seen worse games in my life. It was not easy, the situation was not easy. We had to change, not because of the last game against Southampton but because of all the games we have," Klopp said in the press conference as quoted by the club's website.
"We have to rotate and change players – sometimes it works perfectly and sometimes not, it's not about the players. We have to think if we made something wrong before the game, if we have it's an easy change. If not, we have to find another reason, that's all."
The manager, nevertheless, said Liverpool should not be "going nuts" but should look ahead to the final Europa League group game, against Sion on 10 December, and the forthcoming Premier League match at home to West Bromwich Albion.
Klopp said: "Everything is usually OK, this team has big quality and we know we like to work together. But today we can't ignore this. We can't go on and say no problem. If in professional football you don't feel defeats, you don't feel the losses, something is really wrong.
"We feel this defeat. We know for today it's deserved but it hurts, like it should do. We played the first three games, which were draws. Then we lost against Crystal Palace. For us on this side of the table, it's always important to be in the middle and not going nuts when you win and then getting crazy when you lose. It's not a reality check, it's only a bad game."