Liverpool duo still missing from training as Klopp faces defensive call

Date published: Thursday 14th January 2021 10:44 - Rob McCarthy

Wijnaldum Keita Liverpool TEAMtalk

Naby Keita and Joel Matip were still missing from Liverpool training on Wednesday, with their chances of facing Manchester United looking slimmer by the day.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have had a full week to prepare for their table-topping rivals, having last played against Aston Villa in the FA Cup on January 8.

United leapfrogged the Reds at the summit after their midweek win at Burnley. With the two great rivals set to go head-to-head in a massive clash on Sunday.

Liverpool remain hampered by defensive issues, however, with Matip, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk all still missing.

Matip is close to a return to action, but it would appear that it won’t be in time to face United.

The centre-back was not at training, along with midfielder Keita, who has missed the last four games.

 

The Guinea star has had a number of niggling injuries this season, while he also suffered from Covid-19 earlier in the campaign.

Both players would need to take some part in training on Thursday and Fridat to have a chance of playing, although it does not look good.

Sadio Mane is also striggling with a back option, although he is expected to play.


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Centre-back dilemma for Klopp

With Matip almost certainly out, Klopp has a major decision to make at centre-back.

Jordan Henderson filled in alongside Fabinho in the defeat at Southampton. However, his dominant midfield presence was sorely missed at St Mary’s.

Klopp must decide whether to trust youngsters Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips to partner the Brazilian.

At least the return of Thiago gives the Reds more midfield options. However, the Spaniard struggled to make an impact on his return against Saints.

Youngsters Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain also remain part of the first-team squad at Kirkby, given the current Covid concerns.

 

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