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Keita injury, Fabinho decision & more – 5 things from Klopp post-Man United loss

Jurgen Klopp revealed an injury blow for Naby Keita and explained his decision to drop Fabinho after Liverpool’s shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of Man United.

Here are four key things from the manager’s post-match press conference…

 

“We could have won…”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, August 22, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is a bold statement from the manager, but one he believes would have been achievable had his side played “slightly better.”

“We were obviously not good enough to win the game, but I think we know if we scored the equaliser in any situation it would not have been the biggest surprise in the world, then it’s a deserved draw,” Klopp said.

“[At the] start United looked sharper than us, but it was not too long.

“I think you could expect, a home game, if they wouldn’t have fought from the first minute that would have been an interesting situation. But they did.

“Our situation is how it is, not perfect but good enough to play better tonight.

“I think if our situation was good enough, we could have won the game tonight – if we would have played slightly better.”

 

Another injury for Keita

BANGKOK, THAILAND - Monday, July 11, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita during a training session at the Rajamangala National Stadium on day two of the club's Asia Tour ahead of a friendly match against Manchester United FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Conveniently timed or not, with the backdrop of speculation over his future, it appears as though Keita missed out due to legitimate injury.

That is the word from his agent – via Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg – and Klopp himself, who believes his No. 8 will not be able to train on Tuesday.

“We need further assessment, but it doesn’t look like that he is in training tomorrow,” he explained, with Keita picking up the issue on Sunday.

“Sunday, yesterday, maybe we know more tomorrow, I don’t know.”

 

No issues with Milner-Van Dijk argument

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, August 22, 2022: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (L) amd James Milner (R) look dejected as Manchester United score the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is no surprise that tempers flared during such a humiliating evening for Liverpool, and it showed as James Milner berated Virgil van Dijk following Jadon Sancho’s opener.

No player showered themselves in glory as Sancho twisted, turned and converted with ease, but Van Dijk’s decision to stand off and make himself as small as possible was one of the most bizarre.

Milner gave the centre-back a lecture afterwards, and Klopp believes it is all part of the game.

“I was a football player my whole life. That nobody is happy after we lose a game is completely normal,” he insisted.

“But this is not an explanation or excuse or whatever. It’s all fine.”

 

Fabinho was dropped

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, August 22, 2022: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The biggest call within Klopp’s lineup at Old Trafford was dropping Fabinho and starting Jordan Henderson as the No. 6.

Before kickoff, it almost seemed a sensible decision, with the Brazilian far from his best in the opening two games of the season, but it can certainly be argued that he should have been brought on earlier than the hour mark.

Asked if Fabinho was struggling with an injury, Klopp revealed that was not the case, with his No. 3 simply left out for tactical reasons.

“We have, in the moment, five senior midfielders, and we have to start with three,” he said.

“We could start with two if we had more attackers but we only have three attackers, so it means we have to start with three and change during the game.

“How we want to start and how we want to change, we have to think before the game. That’s the only reason for it.

“This is not the story of the game as well, it’s just a decision for this game.”

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