Jurgen Klopp insists the decision to drop Liverpool trio Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino out of the starting lineup to face Aston Villa is purely to protect their legs.
Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi have been handed starts as their replacements.
“We could have played with exactly the same team, but then for the Brighton game [on Wednesday] we would have to make eight or nine changes and that, of course, costs you rhythm, so now we have to see from specific positions especially,” Klopp told the Reds website.
“Hendo and Gini are players who always have a really high outcome on the pitch; physically they work a lot, have intense runs and stuff like this. Both are in good shape, but [so are] Naby and Ox as well, so that’s it.
“With Bobby, it’s pretty much the same and Divock is working for his chance constantly in training, so I have to reward that as well.
“That’s what we do and we still have a lot of options to change.”
James Milner and Dejan Lovren are both absent through injury, while Xherdan Shaqiri has returned to the bench.
“Millie feels OK but it’s a little thing and we don’t want to take any risk because it makes absolutely no sense,” continued Klopp.
“When Millie says he feels something a little bit then we don’t go with any risk because usually he tends to ignore all the negative signs of his body!
“So for Shaq, that’s why a space was open in the squad so he is in. It’s actually maybe a little bit too early for Shaq because he’s not too long in training after a pretty long period where he was out, but it is just a nice thing for him to have. Being around and stuff like this is for him the next step back into complete normality.
“Dejan still struggles with a little problem that has taken a bit longer than we thought, but it’s still not serious. He didn’t give the green light so far so we have to wait a little bit longer.”