Klopp con­fi­dent of a stronger de­fence

Saturday Star - - SPORT -

LIVERPOOL’S cen­tral de­fen­sive in­jury prob­lems should be cleared up soon, man­ager Juer­gen Klopp said as the Pre­mier League lead­ers pre­pare for to­day’s test at Brighton & Hove Al­bion.

Croa­t­ian cen­tre-back De­jan Lovren picked up a mus­cle in­jury in Mon­day’s FA Cup de­feat at Wolver­hamp­ton to add to the ab­sence of two other cen­tral de­fend­ers Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

Klopp said Matip was back in train­ing and sug­gested that Lovren could be back after the Ja­nu­ray 19 game against Crys­tal Palace.

“Joel trained this week for the first time with the team which is re­ally good but we have to see and de­cide day-by-day,” he added.

The Ger­man in­di­cated that Brazil­ian hold­ing mid­fielder Fabinho could again fill-in along­side Vir­gil van Dijk and noted it was not a ma­jor shift for him to drop deeper.

“If Fabinho has to play as a cen­tre half what we want is the nat­u­ral un­der­stand­ing of the game,” he said.

“If you are a hold­ing six (mid­fielder) or a cen­tre half with the ball it is eas­ier,” he added.

Liverpool’s de­feat at Manch­ester City leaves them with just a four point lead over Pep Guardi­ola’s side but their loss to Wolves leaves them with one less com­pe­ti­tion on their sched­ule.

Asked whether that would give Liverpool an ad­van­tage over their ri­vals, Klopp said that de­pended on how well they made use of the ex­tra prepa­ra­tion time.

“There’s no ad­van­tage. You can do a lot of wrong things when you have a week to train. That is pos­si­ble. We have to use the time and un­der­stand the chal­lenge right,” he said.

Klopp, whose team are also out of the League Cup, con­ceded how­ever that he does pre­fer to have the op­por­tu­nity to train more with sin­gle game weeks.

“It’s my pre­ferred rhythm. It’s our sit­u­a­tion, it’s not that we de­cided to go out of the cups,” he said. | Reuters

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