As Jurgen Klopp prepares his side for Sunday’s clash away to Aston Villa, he is forced to contend with a number of injury issues.
Liverpool travel to the West Midlands on Sunday afternoon to take on Remi Garde’s struggling Villa side, and Klopp’s defence could well pick itself due to some high-profile absentees.
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, the German confirmed that Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel were both unavailable.
“Not for Aston Villa, hopefully for the next game,” he explained regarding Lovren’s injury.
“It’s not that big a thing, more about a strange feeling in the muscle.
“Martin Skrtel is back outside, but needs his time.”
While Lovren is likely to return for Thursday’s away clash with FC Augsburg in the Europa League, Skrtel could remain on the sidelines for a longer period, having suffered a setback in his recovery last week.
Klopp will be able to call upon on-loan centre-back Steven Caulker in reserve, however, as he continued to reveal that the 24-year-old “had back problems, but yesterday he trained normally.”
Another absentee within his defensive ranks is young left-back Brad Smith, who played through injury in the latter stages of Tuesday night’s defeat to West Ham United.
This leaves Klopp with few options when naming his back four.
Nathaniel Clyne, Mamadou Sakho and Alberto Moreno are likely to return, while Klopp can choose between Caulker, Kolo Toure and Lucas Leiva as his second centre-back.
Tiago Ilori also presents an option, with Klopp revealing that “when I came here I didn’t know he was a Liverpool player.”
“You hear about the problems [he had no playing on loan at Villa], then you see the potential,” he continued.
Klopp also confirmed that Jordan Rossiter is still out with a serious hamstring injury, but fellow academy midfielder Cameron Brannagan is back in contention after missing the trip to the Boleyn Ground through illness.
Brannagan may be required as cover for Klopp’s midfield, with Joe Allen said to be out “for a while.”
“I think Joe is a good example [of our injury problems], that he was in a good way, we tried to manage time,” Klopp lamented.
“Usually in the perfect moment of his shape [he gets injured].
“We have to wait a little bit for him, it’s a muscle thing.”
Allen joins Rossiter, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez on the treatment table for the long term, but the imminent returns of Lovren and Skrtel provide Klopp with cause for optimism.
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