Liverpool will not give Premier League appearances like “Christmas presents” to young players despite having already won the title, says boss Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp’s side were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester City on Thursday in their first game since securing their first top-flight title in 30 years.
The Reds have no cup ties and only six league games left to play this season.
“The youngsters are really close, but we won’t give them Premier League matches just for fun,” said Klopp.
Harvey Elliott, 17, and 19-year-olds Neco Williams and Curtis Jones have all been in the matchday squad for both of Liverpool’s last two games.
“We want to win football games and to win football games the best players have to be on the pitch,” said Klopp.
“If the young boys are part of these best players then they will be on the pitch.
“They are so close, they are really good and they are our future – but they will not play now because I want to see them in a Premier League game.
“We don’t give Premier League games as Christmas presents.”
Klopp added that he did not think “these kind of questions” will be asked of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Following their defeat by City, Klopp took issue with questions from the media as he defended his side’s attitude.
Liverpool host 18th-placed Aston Villa on Sunday at 16:30 BST before facing Brighton, who are in 15th, on Wednesday at 20:15.
“We are really in the competition, and it’s not just about the other teams like Aston Villa fighting to stay in the league, Brighton fighting to stay in the league,” said Klopp.
“It’s not about respect, we just want to do it because that’s the case. The boys are really good. But it’s not like we are giving Premier League appearances away like sweets.”