Some discussion in the Club World Cup thread and elsewhere about how many matches we might be playing next season and the possible need for expanding the size of the squad to deal with fixture congestion, etc. There is an interest in having more success in the domestic cups plus this year's additional competitions like European SuperCup and FIFA Club World Championship.
It has me thinking about Klopp's use of the squad this season and the common thought that City have a deeper squad than us, and that being why they won both domestic cups while we lost at the first hurdle of both. A few details:
First, just how weakened of a team did Jürgen choose in those two cup matches?
League Cup 3rd Round – September 26, Anfield
Liverpool 1, Chelsea 2
Lineup: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Milner, Fabinho, Keita, Sturridge, Shaquiri, Mane
Subs: Henderson, Salah, Firmino
So, a few fringe players but a pretty strong side overall.
FA Cup 3rd Round – January 7, Molineux
Wolverhampton 2, Liverpool 1
Lineup: Mignolet, Camacho, Fabinho, Lovren, Moreno, Keita, Milner, Jones, Shaquiri, Origi, Sturridge
Subs: Hoever, Salah, Firmino
This one had a few more players from the outskirts, and was one of the very few starts for Sturridge and Origi. Match came in the middle of an injury spell and a heavy period, fixture-wise.
Now let's look at our most common lineup, appearance-wise
Premier League and Champions League (51 Matches)
GK: Allison 51 (51-0)
D: Trent Alexander-Arnold 40 (38-2)
D: Virgil 50 (50-0)
D: Joel Matip 30 (25-5)
D: Andy Robertson 48 (48-0)
M: Gini Wijnaldum 47 (43-4)
M: Jordan Henderson 43 (29-14)
M: James Milner 43 (29-14)
F: Mohammad Salah 50 (49-1)
F: Sadio Mane 49 (48-1)
F Bobby Firmino 46 (39-7)
Other Key Players
Fabinho 39 (28-11)
Naby Keita 31 (20-11)
Shaqiri 28 (13-15)
Joe Gomez 25 (17-8)
Daniel Sturridge 25 (6-19)
Divock Origi 19 (5-14)
Dejan Lovren 16 (13-3)
Thirteen players starting 20 matches or more (how does that compare to Man City?). Only 15 with double-digit starts and at the most, 18 you could consider regular players. I think you'd have to look at this and say the playing staff have been robust this season.
So it was 53 competitive matches for the campaign. Next season we are guaranteed 50 and could play as many as 66 (not including any Cup replays here because I don't know the latest anymore on when they do those and when they go to penalties instead). Do you feel we need to add to the squad?
Klopp has already told Sturridge and Moreno goodbye. Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain should feature much more regularly this coming season.
Keep in mind the following potential players for some of these matches, including League Cup, SuperCup, Charity Shield and Club World Cup (all before the January loan period): Backup GK, Adam Lallana, Curtis Jones, Ben Woodburn, Rhian Brewster, Harry Wilson and (less likely) Nat Phillips, Marko Grujic, Sheyi Ojo, Ovie Ejaria, Kijana Hoever, George Johnston, Adam Lewis.
So, just a conversation starter about our relative squad depth and what we like for the upcoming season (even as we continue on our high from winning the Champions League at the weekend. Hard to believe the preseason begins in less than a month.