Klopp short of defensive cover for ‘crazy’ week
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.”