Liverpool take on Stoke City this evening at Anfield and there are a number of injury headaches for Jurgen Klopp. Michael Mongie has the latest update on Liverpool’s team news ahead of the game.
Southampton, Spurs, Stoke and Liverpool were the only teams not to play on Boxing Day yesterday and were allowed an extra day to recuperate from Christmas-induced hangovers.
Chelsea, however, didn’t seem to have anything holding them back or slowing them down as they breezed past Bournemouth to a 12th consecutive win, which has sent them nine points clear at the top of the league as it stands.
Liverpool will almost certainly be without Philippe Coutinho tonight as the Brazilian continues his recovery from injury. He suffered ankle ligament damage last month after a solid challenge from Sunderland’s Didier N’Dong but won’t be making any sort of return to playing football tonight.
Despite what some people may think, Liverpool haven’t missed Coutinho’s presence in attack terribly. With the brilliance of Sadio Mane, the guile of Adam Lallana and the raw desire to impress of Divock Origi, the ship has managed to stay on the course.
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Although Coutinho is definitely out, Jurgen Klopp’s policy of taking Joel Matip’s peculiar ankle injury day by day means that he could be declared fit for the game tonight. As it stands, there is no certainty but if I know Klopp, he won’t risk him against Stoke when Sergio Aguero is waiting for him on Saturday.
In Matip’s absence, Ragnar Klavan has deputised superbly and has looked like more than just the squad player that Jurgen Klopp signed him to be in the summer. If he maintains his form, he may well earn himself a spot in the first team in lieu of Dejan Lovren.
Winning against Stoke today is massively important as Chelsea have sped ahead of the pack and are threatening to run away with the league title. Picking up the three points and beating City on Saturday will allow Liverpool to go into the New Year knowing that they have a chance with a game against Chelsea on the 31st of January.
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