Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defended his decision to substitute Philippe Coutinho but admitted he has been left feeling “sick” by the Reds after their Carabao Cup exit at Leicester.
The Foxes dumped Liverpool out in the third round after Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani scored to clinch a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.
It came after the visitors dominated the first half as Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke missed fine chances.
Coutinho was withdrawn at the break as he builds fitness after an interrupted opening to the season, where Liverpool rejected several bids from Barcelona.
It upset Liverpool’s momentum but Klopp insisted the Brazil international was always down to come off.
“That was the plan before the game. He needs match time but it was not the plan to let him play again 60 or 70 or 80 minutes,” said Klopp.
“Forty five is the limit. We need to get him fit but we cannot push him through.
“The second half it was clear we were not that fluent, because we took Phil off – as was the plan from before the game.”
The German added that Coutinho is “on schedule” in terms of gaining match fitness.