Premier League • England

Klopp delivers fresh January exit verdict after injury blow to Liverpool star

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Porto 2021 TEAMtalk1

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted that the cheekbone injury to Nat Phillips will not affect the defender’s chances of leaving in January.

Phillips’ role at Anfield has again dwindled following his starring impact last season. With Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all out with long-term injuries, the 24-year-old stepped up.

However, Tuesday’s Champions League win over AC Milan was only his third appearance of the current campaign.

Klopp admitted earlier this month that Liverpool “cannot keep him forever” after he proved his worth in Liverpool’s back line.

And while Phillips’ lack of game time meant he suffered fatigue in Milan, he also ended up with a fractured cheekbone.

Still, Klopp insisted in his latest press conference that the centre-back can still leave next month.

He said: “Yeah, I’m very happy that Nat is here, to be honest. But, how I said, we will not block anything, I think at least.

“It’s not the plan at the moment, but who knows what happens until January? And then we talk completely new. No, it’s not about that.

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“It’s of course not the luckiest moment for this [injury] but by the end of January he will be completely fine, definitely, or probably in the middle of January. I don’t know exactly. He will be completely fine. It’s not complicated, it’s just not cool.

“We will see what that means exactly but in the long term it’s anyway no problem because everything will be fine for Nat, definitely.”

Until then, Klopp confirmed that the injury is “not as bad as it could have been” and that Phillips does not require surgery.

He can still train from next week, but on an individual plan to avoid further damage.

Henry notices major Salah, Liverpool change

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal

One player whose future in Liverpool’s team is – for now – secure is Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian wants to sign a new contract at Anfield, with his current deal expiring in the summer of 2023. Until then, he will look to continue his sparkling form.

Salah has scored 20 goals and assisted nine others in 21 games this season.

According to Thierry Henry, though, the forward has undergone a change in his play that can only benefit Klopp’s team.