Liverpool have been dealt a double blow, with Jurgen Klopp ruling out both Philippe Coutinho and Joel Matip for the New Year’s Eve clash against Man City at Anfield.
Both are struggling with ankle injuries, but there was an initial hope that they would be able to return to take on Pep Guardiola’s side.
However, speaking to reporters at Melwood on Thursday afternoon, Klopp confirmed that neither were available for selection against City.
Furthermore, this is likely to keep both out for the trip to take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on January 2, proving a bitter blow as Klopp prepares to rotate his squad.
“He’s in a good way. I spoke to him a few minutes ago, but the City game is too early for sure,” Klopp said of Coutinho.
“And if the City game is too early I’m pretty sure the Sunderland game is too early too.”
Klopp was more reserved when it came to discussing Matip’s fitness, with the centre-back already missing the last three games, against Middlesbrough, Everton and Stoke City.
Klopp has turned to Ragnar Klavan in Matip’s absence, while Roberto Firmino has been shifted to the left flank to cover for Coutinho’s injury.
Klavan has been in impressive form alongside Dejan Lovren at centre-back, with the Estonian helping to keep clean sheets against both Middlesbrough and Everton.
Liverpool initially struggled more against Mark Hughes’ Potters, conceding early to a Jonathan Walters header, but Klavan, Lovren and their defensive colleagues regrouped to form a resolute line.
Firmino had failed to score in any of his appearances on the left until Stoke’s visit to Anfield, but netted the Reds’ second goal of the night to fuel a strong 4-1 victory.
A win over City would propel Liverpool further forward in their push for the Premier League title.
City head into the clash one point behind the Reds in third, with Chelsea boasting a six-point lead over Klopp’s side, having won each of their last 12 games in the league.
Liverpool are also set to be without both Marko Grujic and Danny Ings on Saturday evening.