Speaking to the media ahead of a massive Premier League game against Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Philippe Coutinho and Joel Matip will both be absent.
The news that two of Liverpool’s best performers for the 2016/17 season will be missing for a game which determines whether or not Chelsea will be caught up or if Antonio Conte’s side will go into the New Year with an enormous lead over their title competitors is huge.
It was always unlikely, with no recent news surrounding Coutinho whatsoever, that Klopp would rest the Brazilian in a bid to avoid worsening the injury. The same can be said of Joel Matip, although there are very few people who know exactly what is wrong with the Cameroonian and most of them are employed by Liverpool Football Club.
When pressed about Coutinho’s availability for the game against Pep Guardiola’s City side, Klopp said, “No. He is in a good way, a really good way – I spoke to him a few minutes ago.
“But the City game, for sure, is too early and if the City game is too early then I am pretty sure the Sunderland game is too early, too. That’s it.”
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Coutinho’s absence won’t be felt as keenly against Sunderland on the 2nd of January, but tomorrow night, the Brazilian’s big game influence will me a miss but it’s the job of Jurgen Klopp and his players to ensure that nobody thinks about Coutinho or Matip for 90 minutes.
For the first time as Liverpool manager, Klopp named the same lineup in the league in consecutive games when he sent his team out to face Stoke City at Anfield on Tuesday. With the injury update, the team is expected to remain the same for a third game in a row. Firmino, Origi and Mane have led the line from the front recently and they are beginning to link-up as if they’ve been together for years.
The midfield might change – it all comes down to whether or not Klopp wants Georginio Wijnaldum’s football brain and subtle impact or Emre Can’s strength and explosive style in the engine room.
The back five of Mignolet, Milner, Klavan, Lovren and Clyne is expected to remain the same and will have their work cut out for them with Raheem Sterling on form and Sergio Aguero back from suspension.
To say that tomorrow’s game won’t be easy is no understatement. Manchester City are beginning to find their identity under Guardiola and their football is yielding the results it deserves.
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