Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he has “too many injuries” as the new season begins and revealed a change of plan for one fringe player.
The Reds face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday in their Premier League opener. Following last season’s 63-game campaign which almost produced an unprecedented quadruple, there is – on paper – not much for Liverpool to improve upon.
However, they must get a strong start to the new term if they are to get anywhere close to last season’s levels.
As it stands, though, Klopp is not happy with how his Liverpool squad looks. The absentee facing the longest spell out is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has a serious hamstring injury.
Klopp added in his press conference on Friday that deputy goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is a “few weeks” away. Meanwhile, left-back Kostas Tsimikas could return to training next week and Klopp is unsure on how long Ibrahima Konate’s absence will take.
The manager said when asked if he could address his problems with a new signing: “We cannot solve a problem that we had for four weeks with a transfer for a full year. That makes no sense, but the transfer window is still open so we will see.”
He added: “In the moment, we have too many injuries, that’s true, but nothing changed.
“It’s unlucky situations, it started with Caoimhin then Diogo. One was injured, the other one got re-injured. Both of them were with the national teams [when the injuries happened].”
Klopp rues Liverpool injury luck
“In a few weeks time they will be back, but they’re out of pre-season which is not cool,” Klopp continued.
“Kostas was unlucky in a training situation. I saw it now, in his opinion he might be ready to train next week. Ibou [Konate] in a challenge in the game against Strasbourg. What happened there, we have to see how long it will take, but he’s out for a while.”
Elsewhere, Curtis Jones remains out and Klopp said his calf injury “could lead to something serious” if Liverpool are not “careful”.
However, Alisson Becker has returned from his abdominal problem and will start at Fulham. Naby Keita had an illness and will return to training on Friday, although he may therefore only make the bench.
Nat Phillips transfer U-turn
Amid the doubt over the length of Konate’s absence, Klopp confirmed that Nathaniel Phillips will stay at Anfield.
The fifth-choice centre-back has interest from Fulham and Bournemouth, his loan club last season.
But the Liverpool boss said when asked if Phillips will now stay: “Yeah, probably. It will influence outgoing transfers, I would say.”
Phillips currently sits behind Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Konate and Joe Gomez in the pecking order.
However, he will move up to fourth choice, although Gomez can also fill in at right-back for Trent Alexander-Arnold.