Klopp believes Liverpool squad is strongest since his arrival in 2015

Mohamed Salah available after return from Afcon as Liverpool are at home to Leicester

Jürgen Klopp has credited the strongest squad of his Liverpool tenure with the team's continued pursuit of four trophies this season.

The Liverpool manager is in uncharted territory for this stage of a campaign, with a place in the English League Cup final, the fifth round of the FA Cup, a last-16 Champions League tie and a Premier League title race on his agenda. Liverpool are at home to Leicester on Thursday night, and have Mohamed Salah available after his return from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Although Sadio Mané is unlikely to feature because of a delayed return from Senegal’s celebrations and Jordan Henderson has a back problem, Klopp’s squad is in otherwise rude health. He believes it is the strongest one he has had since arriving at Anfield in 2015.

“It’s the first time in my life I’ve been in this position because in Germany we only have three competitions – two plus the Champions League,” Klopp said. “This is the strongest squad, there is no doubt about that. If that wasn’t the case then that means that we have got weaker over the years.

“We’ve always had a strong squad. That we didn’t make it so far in four competitions in the years before is for a bunch of different reasons. Timing is important in football, as in life, and when you come through a brilliant December on three wheels, for example, then it gets a bit bumpy in January when the cup competitions start properly.”

Criticism

Leicester inflicted Liverpool's last defeat on December 28th, but their FA Cup humbling by Nottingham Forest on Sunday provoked outspoken criticism from their manager Brendan Rodgers.

Klopp said: “The way I know Brendan, I think he said what he said for one reason – because he wants to see a reaction from his players. That is one thing I am concerned about.”

Klopp admitted Salah had defeat in the Afcon final with Egypt “still on his mind”, but hopes the disappointment can be channelled to Liverpool’s advantage. He said: “I don’t think there is a lot of space for more determination in Mo’s mind. When you lose a final, and we are obviously the best example for that, it is really hard, but if you use it for the next big game or next big tournament then it can still be helpful.”

– Guardian