Strength in depth key for Liverpool as they negotiate December
LONDON – High-flying Liverpool will trust in the depth of their squad this weekend as they try to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Juergen Klopp's men will be without midfielder Fabinho and defender Joel Matip for Saturday's trip to Bournemouth, the second of eight games for the club in December.
Klopp shuffled his pack to good effect in midweek when Liverpool thrashed neighbours Everton 5-2, able to start with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson.
The German said the changes were about "having fresh legs, showing respect to the boys, to the squad.
"They proved it, they showed me we have different options. The boys are all on track and ready to deliver performances like this.
"It was really good and helped us, not only the three points but that we could make the changes and the boys now know."
Divock Origi, who scored twice, Xerdan Shaqiri, who netted once and Adam Lallana all performed well against Everton and Klopp will rotate again this weekend, though goalkeeper Alisson will be back after missing the derby through suspension.
With such a commanding lead over second-placed Leicester, and 1--point gap to champions Manchester City, all the talk is about whether Klopp's side can win the title for the first time since 1990.
But though they are unbeaten in a club-record 32 matches and have dropped just two points in 15 matches this season, Klopp is focused only on the next task.
"We sit here and nobody is kind of relieved, it (their points total) is just a number - 43 - and three is the next number because in three days we play again against Bournemouth," he said.
"They are waiting for us with all they have. They are not happy with their situation; I saw their game last night (a 1-0 loss against 10-man Crystal Palace) and they want to strike back, so we have to be ready for that game again.
"That's actually the only thing I'm really thinking about; how can we make sure we are there for this specific fight and ready again?"
Leicester travel to Aston Villa looking for their eighth straight win, with striker Jamie Vardy in a rich vein of goalscoring form.
The former England forward, who scored in a Premier League record 11 straight matches in Leicester's title-winning season in 2015-16, scored against Watford in midweek to make it seven games in a row with a goal this season.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said he does not think Vardy is worried about records, but is just glad he is in such great form.
"I think he just looks to the next game," Rodgers told reporters after the win over Watford.
"For me, I'm not really bothered who scores as long as we win and play well, but Jamie is a real talisman and a fantastic striker and in that moment he has all the composure to score the penalty so he is very important for us."
Manchester City take on local rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, having rediscovered the winning touch in midweek with a 4-1 win at Burnley.
City are set to be without striker Sergio Aguero again as he recovers from injury while United go into the game with confidence after beating Tottenham in midweek.
Fourth-placed Chelsea are away to Everton, who dropped into the relegation zone after the loss at Liverpool while Wolves, in fifth, are away to Brighton.
Crystal Palace make the journey to bottom side Watford, Tottenham host Burnley, Newcastle play Southampton, Norwich meet Sheffield United and Arsenal go to West Ham in the weekend's other matches.
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## Editorial contacts - Reporting by: Simon Cambers in London - Editing by: Barry Whelan, +49 30 285231472,
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