Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he did not choose to rest Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge for the Premier League victory over Crystal Palace due to the Reds' upcoming Europa League clash with Manchester United.
Sturridge and Coutinho were both left out of the starting line-up on 6 March, with the latter coming off the bench after an hour to help his side come back from a goal down at Selhurst Park. Roberto Firmino capitalised on a mistake from Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to draw his side level before Christian Benteke, another who started the game on the bench, converted an injury time penalty to secure the 2-1 win.
Liverpool and arch-rivals United collide on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash at Anfield, but Klopp has denied suggestions he felt he had to rest some of his key players. The former Borussia Dortmund manager instead insisted his selection decision was down to the sort of game Palace gave his side.
"No. Today, I did not have Thursday in mind", he said at his post-match press conference, Liverpool's official website reports.
"We tried to prepare ourselves for a real physical fight today against Crystal Palace. We had to fight for second balls. Under pressure, you need direction in a game, you have to go behind the last lines, you need speed and you need tactical movements together so you can close the gap and protect ourselves.
"That's what we thought today, we thought it made sense to play with a similar formation to the one we did last Wednesday [against Manchester City]. To be honest, I have never had a bench with this quality in 15 years as a manager – this bench was important."