Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp calls player who could leave Liverpool ‘important’ after hinting at increase in gametime; plays down fresh injury concern

Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool

Liverpool lost a friendly against Lyon on Sunday, after which Jurgen Klopp gave updates about a couple of their squad members hoping to return to contention for gametime.

With some of Liverpool’s players still away with World Cup duties, Klopp used a variety of personnel against Lyon in Dubai. There were plenty of familiar faces among the starting lineup, but they ended the game with a youthful combination.

Klopp’s side took the lead within a minute when Fabio Carvalho scored. However, Mohamed Salah went on to miss a penalty and then former Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette equalised before half time.

Bradley Barcola then put the Ligue 1 outfit in front after the hour mark. Finally, Lacazette scored again to make it 3-1 to Lyon.

Liverpool started the match with a lineup of Caoimhin Kelleher, James Milner, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, Stefan Bajcetic, Thiago Alcantara, Harvey Elliott, Carvalho, Roberto Firmino and Salah.

Matip’s inclusion represented his first involvement for Liverpool since October after an injury-related absence. The defender lasted until half time before Nat Phillips came on in his place.

There was also an outing in the final half an hour for Naby Keita, another player who has been missing due to injury for an even longer timeframe. Indeed, he hasn’t played in the Premier League all season.

For Klopp, it was “important” to see both players return to action for Liverpool’s first friendly of the mid-season break.

He told a press conference afterwards, when asked about Matip’s return: “Very important, absolutely very important.

“Yeah, so far he did pretty much everything in training. There was one session where we got advice to rest him a little bit, but it was not from him, it was from the medical department, [so] that’s what we did.

“Apart from that he could do everything. Looked good today, 45 minutes was again what we were allowed to use him. That’s what we did. That’s good.

“Naby’s first 30 minutes, I think, for a while. Very helpful as well, important position, important player, so that was [what] we should only use him [for], 30 minutes. I think against AC Milan next Friday they are probably able to play a bit longer.”

Keita will be out of contract at the end of the season and is expected to leave the club. However, it seems Klopp will still be counting on the Guinea international as long as he is at his disposal.

Jurgen Klopp gives Harvey Elliott update

Another blow for Liverpool in Keita’s position was that Elliott was forced off in the first half.

However, there might not be too much cause for alarm. Klopp explained: “Harvey got a knock before we scored. Harvey got a knock. But I think we were lucky.

“He looks fine now but he feels it, that’s normal, there was contact. But I hope we were lucky in that moment.”

As Klopp stated, Liverpool are next in action against AC Milan on December 16 for another friendly.

By then, the Liverpool manager might be able to add Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez back to his squad after his time at the World Cup, but nobody else whose involvement in Qatar will have ended will have returned.

Klopp clarified: “No, not net yet. Darwin Nunez will join us tomorrow and the others… everybody gets a week off after the World Cup to reset mind and body.

“And then we play pretty quick, 22nd of December we play Man City in the [Carabao] Cup. So, that’s as tough as it gets and yeah that’s it.”

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