Premier League • England

Klopp seeks ‘solution’ to recurring Liverpool issue with a twist after making title claim

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp smiling in the sun 2021

Jurgen Klopp has compared the situation Liverpool are currently dealing with in midfield to what they went through in defence last season – vowing once again to find a solution.

Liverpool are back in action on Saturday evening when they host Arsenal after the international break. Just like before, Klopp will not have a fully fit squad available to him. He has had to react to a number of injury issues.

Many of them have come in the middle of the park. At present, they are without Naby Keita, James Milner, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott; they also need to make decisions on Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, the latter being in line to train on Friday.

Klopp therefore has a dilemma with how to fill the gap against Arsenal. But he has dealt with similar situations before, pointing to last season when they navigated a long stretch without their three main centre-backs.

Now his attention is on a different area of the pitch and he admitted it is a challenge, even if he wouldn’t normally pick the same options every week.

He said: “It’s not easy [having to change] but if it was you would not need to pay so much money to sort it. Would I like to play same three? No, we have too many games but it’d be cool to have more options (less injuries) and training days together.

“Last year we had a strange situation with the centre-backs and it looks like this is the one now for the midfield. We need to find a solution for Arsenal and that is what we do.”

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In addition to the midfield, where Henderson and Fabinho are in the recovery stages, Klopp could have a problem down Liverpool’s left-hand side.

He confirmed that full-back Andy Robertson is at a similar stage to Henderson in terms of being at the recovery stage. A “late decision” will be made on both.

Ahead of the left-back berth, though, Klopp confirmed that winger Sadio Mane will be fine to play despite having an injury scare recently.

Klopp: Too early to talk title race

Upon their return to action, Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from the 3-2 defeat they suffered to West Ham before the break.

Klopp said he would have preferred to get straight back on the pitch to react to that result.

The manager said: “I hate international breaks. It helped from injury point of view. Coaches have their own targets and very often think they have to do physical work with the players. The break was not helpful. I would have loved to have played the week after [West Ham].”

Even so, he does not think the recent defeat can be seen as one that will affect their title challenge just yet.

“It’s early for the title race but stay up there we know we need to stay in and around the league and we haven’t had enough good results in last few weeks,” he admitted.

“We lost at West Ham, but we know we have to perform and fight. That’s the most important information probably.

“We are at Anfield and we have to show that and make it known it is different here. It’s been a while so I cannot wait to play.”

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