Jurgen Klopp spoke of Thiago and Naby Keita ahead of Everton‘s visit to Anfield on Sunday in what could be the last league Merseyside derby for at least one season.
Here are five key things from Klopp as he looked ahead to Sunday’s Merseyside derby:
Bobby a ‘maybe’
The No. 9 missed the 4-0 win over Man United with a foot injury picked up in the FA Cup semi-final and he is under the ‘maybe’ category to feature against Everton.
“Bobby getting better and better,” Klopp said. “It’s uncomfortable, painful. Today is his first day back on the pitch, still two days to go. So maybe.
“If Bobby gives the thumbs up then he will be involved but if not we wait another few days. After that, I think it should be possible.”
But he remains the only injury concern with “no other problems” for Klopp to report.
‘Thank god they don’t make decisions!’
It’s hard to believe some had ever suggested Thiago would hinder Liverpool and ‘slow’ them down, and Klopp had a pretty clear line to say to that.
“People were questioning if Thiago suited our football? Thank God these people don’t make decisions!”
The Spaniard has been nothing short of sensational for the club and Klopp was never in any doubt it would not be the case.
“Thiago wanted to join us and he knew how we wanted to play. He’s a real football person, he knew how he’d fit in and we knew it as well,” Klopp added.
“His one problem was he was injured, started with an Everton game, but there was never a question if he would suit us.”
The future is bright
There were also some happy words for Naby Keita, who is starting to find his groove in a Liverpool shirt. He is just four appearances away from his highest tally since joining in 2018/19.
“When Naby was fit and could get some rhythm, he was always really good – unfortunately he could not get as much rhythm as he and we wished in the past,” Klopp said.
“Maybe that’s over now [knock on wood], and then the future is bright for him. He’s a great player.
“The year before [he arrived], Keita and Thiago were the best midfielders in the Bundesliga by a distance.”
He is one of five players whose contract expires in 2023, is an extension on its way?
Last league derby?
With Everton dangerously flirting with relegation, this could be the last Premier League Merseyside derby for at least a season and it’s something the boss would miss, like many others.
“Of course, we are used to two clubs in the city and around the derby, it’s always special,” he said.
“Usually the full week before you play, all the things people are talking about is the derby. Yes, of course, I would [miss it].”
And on the topic of physicality in the match, he’s happy for it to be intense and aggressive so long as it’s “all in the rulebook” and “doesn’t go over the top” – we’ve paid the price before with that!
‘We love the situation!’
There are nine, hopefully 10, games remaining for Liverpool and it’s clear that the players are enjoying the journey but Klopp knows they’ve not yet achieved anything with three competitions still on the go.
“We love the situation, you cannot plan it that you are still in and around everything,” Klopp said.
“We know there’s nothing we achieved so far yet, we won one competition, that’s great, but there are three others to go.
“The next one is a very important Premier League game. The boys are in a good moment and we have to prove it again on Sunday.”
What a run-in this is going to be. Up the Reds.