Klopp short of de­fen­sive cover for ‘crazy’ week

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Andy Kelly

Liver­pool start what Jur­gen Klopp, their man­ager, be­lieves is a “crazy” week of games with a mi­nor de­fen­sive cri­sis ahead of to­day’s lunchtime trip to Bournemouth.

Vic­tory would take Klopp’s side to the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, but they will have to do so with just two recog­nised cen­tre-backs avail­able – Vir­gil van Dijk and Joel Matip.

Joe Gomez broke his leg in the vic­tory at Burn­ley in mid­week and Klopp re­vealed that his nat­u­ral re­place­ment, De­jan Lovren, was un­avail­able due to con­cus­sion.

Klopp is hop­ing the Croa­t­ian will be able to re­turn for the de­ci­sive Cham­pi­ons League group game against Napoli at An­field on Tues­day, which is fol­lowed by a week­end league visit from Manch­ester United, but he will not be able to call on Nathaniel Clyne for cover as he, too, is on the re­cov­ery trail.

“He’s not avail­able. It is too com­pli­cated to ex­plain but it’s noth­ing rup­tured and noth­ing bro­ken,” Klopp said of Clyne, who has made just one ap­pear­ance this sea­son.

Klopp, who has Andy Robert­son avail­able again, ab­solved Burn­ley’s Ben Mee of any mal­ice over the tackle which left Gomez in­jured but re­mains adamant that some of the slide-tack­ling was dan­ger­ous, a claim which Burn­ley man­ager Sean Dyche had sug­gested was try­ing to “rein­vent the rules”.

“Slid­ing tack­les are all dif­fer­ent,” said Klopp. “It’s one thing to block the ball and you take the player. It’s pos­si­ble you can slide in, take the ball and ev­ery­thing is fine.

“Be­ing ag­gres­sive is the readi­ness to hurt your­self and not the other player. I un­der­stand that Mee did not want to in­jure Joe. Maybe that was the clean­est tackle of all.”

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