LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's injured Ibrahima Konaté on the bench before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp explains Ibrahima Konate’s absence vs. West Ham

Jurgen Klopp had been “rather positive” over Ibrahima Konate‘s chances of featuring at West Ham but the centre-back failed to make the trip to the capital due to injury.

The Frenchman has started and played the full 90 in each of Liverpool’s last nine games, but it is not the first time he has been under doubt on the eve of a match.

On Tuesday, Klopp revealed there had been an issue with Konate following the win over Nottingham Forest, and the teamsheet on Wednesday evening confirmed he did not prove his fitness in time.

Joel Matip takes his place for only his second start in 10 games, the only change to the XI.

Speaking to BT Sport ahead of the match at West Ham, Klopp said: “Ibou had now in the last two-three weeks little niggles here and there.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 22, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“If this was the last game of the season he probably would have been available, but now we have to make sure we don’t have to push the boys.

“That’s why we made the decision.”

This is the fourth separate occasion this season that Konate has missed games due to injury, amounting to 19 games – the hope is now that it does not extend beyond that with only six to go.

The other notable team news is that both Thiago and Darwin Nunez again start from the bench despite the manager having hinted at changes due to Liverpool’s upcoming schedule.

Nunez has not started the last three while the Spaniard has not graced the XI since early February after a hip injury ruled him out for 10 games.

It means Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo continue to lead the line for the fourth game in a row, they’ve combined for eight goals and two assists in that time.

Klopp acknowledged there will be a need to make changes in the coming weeks but emphasised that if it is possible to “keep similar lineups” it “makes sense” to do so.

Fabinho is also selected despite the risk of a two-game suspension should he be shown a yellow card at the London Stadium.