Klopp jokes over Mo Salah and Wataru Endo exit – “Good luck would be a lie!”

Jurgen Klopp is confident Liverpool can cope without Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo during their involvement in mid-season international tournaments.

Salah and Endo are set for a period of absence as they represent Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations and Japan at the Asian Cup respectively.

Both men had been key members of the starting XI prior to their departures, leaving Klopp facing a difficult task in replacing.

Asked about his parting words to the pair, the German joked: “I said, if I wish you good luck, it would be a lie!

“That’s not what I did, obviously. From a personal point of view, I would be happy if they went out of the group stage but it’s probably not possible, and then they can go and win it as well.

“Good luck, see you, come back healthy, that’s pretty much the words. Now we have to deal with it and will deal with it.

“Of course you see the recent games and think that looks a bit strange [without them]. I’m pretty positive that we will find a way but we have to show that on the pitch.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (L) and Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

The loss of Endo following his surprise emergence as an important figure in midfield has been somewhat cushioned by the return of Alexis Mac Allister from injury.

But Klopp’s toughest task will be to find a replacement for the generally ever-present and always influential Salah on the right-hand side of his attack.

Asked if he had thought about how he might approach it, he said: “Not really a lot, I think we played West Ham without Mo on that side, when Harvey played there.

“We all know we have – hopefully it stays like that – different offensive options who can all play that wing in a different way.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Nobody – not Harvey or anybody else who plays that wing – can play it like Mo, it’s not possible, so we just have to find another way and use the boys to their skills and that’s the idea behind it.

“Do you want to play without Mo? No, but in the past we didn’t have to do it that often but we always found a way to get through these periods.

“I’m pretty sure we will find [a way], but of course we play Arsenal, and at Arsenal you can lose with Mo Salah.

“At the moment, we have a chance to win the game so we should think about that.”