Liverpool take on Burnley in their second game of the season tomorrow at Turf Moor and Jürgen Klopp has provided a squad fitness update to keep us in the loop.
A big worry for Klopp this week was the fitness of Sadio Mane who fell in training on Wednesday and injured his shoulder. Initial fears were that the star of pre-season had dislocated his shoulder but scans show that the damage isn’t as extensive as a dislocation.
What is good to hear is that Mane doesn’t face a length spell out with the expectation being that he will miss the game against Burnley and return for the encounter against Spurs next week.
“It was a situation, a challenge between two players up in the air, coming down and then Sadio fell on his shoulder but it’s not that serious,” the boss told reporters at Melwood.
“In this moment, I have no idea if he could be available for the weekend or not, but I don’t think it will take a long time. It would have been better without this situation, but things like this will always happen and you cannot avoid this.
“In the first moment it was not too good, but meanwhile I think it is all OK.”
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While Sadio Mane has joined Liverpool’s worryingly long list of injured players, Klopp welcomed James Milner and Daniel Sturridge back this week with the likelihood being that each will start or make appearances off the bench. Alberto Moreno’s terrible performance at fullback against Arsenal has lead to suggestions that Milner will come straight in to replace the Spaniard.
Klopp continued: “In full training [we have] Millie and Daniel. Lucas is on a good way and made the warm up with us and then we let him do something else. Maybe today he is in team training, we will see.
“Mama is in a better way, not part of team training but is not too far away from it, so that’s good.”
A positive thing for Klopp, no doubt, will be his squad’s strength in depth. There will be a wealth of players for the boss to consider for the clash with Burnley as players’ fitness improves and some are welcomed back from injuries.
“Emre Can came later in the pre-season, but as everybody could see when he came on [at Arsenal] he is in a good way,” said the manager. “Daniel Sturridge is back. Divock Origi came later in the pre-season but again is getting better and better. He was not in the line-up, but he could be in the line-up – the same for Joel Matip, who had little injury issues, and Millie is back. He missed maybe eight or nine days but is always in good shape physically, so I don’t think he lost a lot. He is an option, like a few other players too.
“My job is to watch through the week who gives me which signs and then I will make the line-up. The last game is one thing I think about, of course – it’s important but not the only thing I should use for my decision.”
The trip to Burnley will see Danny Ings, now fit after a length injury lay-off, come up against his former club for the first time. Nobody is expecting a poor reception for the Englishman but it could be that he doesn’t even make an appearance.
Klopp said: “I like Danny. I talked to him and I told him last week that in my opinion it makes more sense that he collects game time, that he can play – as he did, he scored a goal, all good.
“But the situation here is like it is. You can ask me about it, or you already know about it. We don’t have a big problem at this moment – and hopefully it stays like this – on strikers.
“We need to work, every player needs to work and be available and then I have to make decisions, that’s how it is. Show me your best and I will make decisions. The most comfortable situation for me would be that the decisions are really difficult to make.
“It’s pretty possible, and hopefully it stays like this, that I have to make on Friday really difficult decisions because no-one has given me a sign that they don’t want to be involved. That’s a manager’s life.”
Liverpool will be aiming to take maximum points from their first two games and victory at Burnley would ensure that the Reds’ positive start to the season continues.