Jürgen Klopp has confirmed he will not select Adam Lallana again because he wants to protect the midfielder's impending free transfer from Liverpool.
Lallana signed a short-term extension to stay until the end of the season but has not featured in a match-day squad since the restart. The 32-year-old, whom Klopp described as "a legend", has several options when his deal expires and a reunion with Brendan Rodgers at Leicester appears most likely.
The former England midfielder has made 178 appearances for Liverpool since his £25 million (€27.8 million) move from Southampton in 2014 but Klopp will not consider another outing in the final five matches because he wants to ensure the player remains fit for a transfer.
The Liverpool manager said: “It is clear Adam will leave the club in the summer, if the summer ever starts. I already miss everything about him. In this moment he is still here but we will miss him. He is one of the most influential players on the training quality I have ever had in my life. He is an incredible professional. But now we have a difficult situation and I will respect Adam a lot. Everything with Adam is sorted, let me say it like this. He is so fit, he is training, everything is fine, but the future is his future. And if we need his help on the pitch we can get it. He trains 100 per cent but as long as we don’t need him, he will just train.”
Klopp added: “There were a lot of discussions about players without contracts. With him there was not even a discussion. It was clear Adam would extend his contract and he wanted to do that as well, but he will not put any risk on his future or whatever. That is absolutely clear. He is one of the most important players of the time since I am here so I wish him only the best for the future. From my point of view he is already a legend here, so he can become a legend somewhere else from next season.”
Liverpool visit Brighton on Wednesday night and Klopp insists he will not rest any other players to prepare for next season. He said, however, that the champions may be in better condition for 2020-21 than many of the teams still involved in European competition.
"We will have a short break, we will have hopefully a short pre-season depending on when we start, and that is pretty much the same for all the teams apart from those who are still in Europe. I don't know how they will sort that," he said. "If [Manchester] City goes through to the Champions League final at the end of August that is really, really tough. Or United, Chelsea and Wolves; they are all still in Europe and it would be really tough for them. For us it is already tough but I think we can deal with it."