Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez has admitted he is spoilt for choice when it comes to team selection.
“We have a lot of good players now but we can only name 16 of them for Premier League matches and 18 for European games; our only problem now is that we have too many players,” Benítez said ahead of the Champions League qualifier against Toulouse. “We may be in a very good rugby town here but I cannot start 15 players.”
Although Peter Crouch was reputedly upset at not making the squad for Saturday’s win at Aston Villa, he travelled to France alongside Javier Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun who were also excluded from the Villa trip.
Benítez has told his squad that being rotated will become an increasing fact of life at Anfield. He believes it is agents rather than discontented players who stir up trouble with managers.
“I often say to agents you just look after yourselves and not the players. They should be working for the players and not for themselves.”
“I have prepared the same speech for all the players. I realise I will keep hearing the same question because I have a good squad and I have to decide but I will always have the same answer. We now have two players for every position. It is what we wanted and the situation when you play for a very big club.
“On Sunday I spoke to a player regarding the [rotation] situation and was really pleased with his response. He said he would be ready when needed and accepted the situation like a professional.
“We have very good players in the squad now, so it’s not as if players coming into the team when people are rested will not be good enough,” he said. “I have confidence in all of them.”
“I see players working so hard in training, effectively saying ‘don’t forget I’m here’. Each week it might only be a small detail which determines who starts.
“We need to score more goals away,” said Benítez. “That’s why we need a different approach.” However, with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees forecast, the visiting game plan may yet need modification.