Prior to Liverpool’s win over Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday evening, Jürgen Klopp provided an update on his injured squad members in Henderson, Lovren and perennial patient Sturridge.
Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 in front of a raucous Anfield crowd to climb the league table into third. With Manchester City playing later today, it’s very likely that the Reds will be pushed back down to fourth-place. The win over the Gunners allows Liverpool to maintain the pressure on their top four rivals.
With just 11 games left for Liverpool this season, the fight for Champions League places is certainly hotting up. Chelsea have all but secured first place with a ten point lead over Spurs going into the final stretch but the top four is wide open.
With Henderson, Sturridge and Lovren all missing last night, Liverpool did well to win. In fairness, Mesut Özil didn’t play a part as he was ill and Arsene Wenger bizarrely started Alexis Sánchez from the bench.
Speaking on Friday, prior to last night’s massive win on Anfield road, Klopp provided injury updates on Hendo, Sturridge and Lovren.
“It’s too soon for Jordan, for sure,” Klopp said of his captain.
There were fears that, after a blow to his foot during training, the skipper had suffered a broken metatarsal. Scans revealed that he hadn’t suffered a fracture of any kind and that it was just severe bruising.
In Henderson’s absence, Emre Can deputised far better than he has at any point this season. Fans were delighted with the attitude the German adopted when faced with tricky players like Alexis Sánchez. Can merely assumed a snide, no-nonsense attitude and played quite a dirty game, attempting to interrupt any sort of rhythm Arsenal had.
After what has been a largely disappointing season from Can, it was refreshing to see how well he can play. Many people seem to have forgotten the German midfielder’s contributions to Liverpool’s Europa League run-in. His form in both legs of the quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund was immaculate and is a perfect example of why Klopp persists with him.
On Sturridge, Klopp added, “Sturridge is not training.
“He was ill, really ill. Now he has a strain in his hip muscle. It happened in a rehab session.
“It’s very small but it keeps him out of normal training for another week or so. He can train but he won’t be in team training.”
The last week has not been a good one for Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool career. Reports emerged that Paris-Saint Germain had a loan bid rejected for the Englishman in January. The bid was only rejected because of Liverpool’s lack of depth.
You can’t help but feel that if Liverpool had more quality attackers available, as will be the case in the summer, that Klopp and the club hierarchy would have authorised a deal.
“Dejan had full team training yesterday,” Klopp explained to the reporters at Melwood.
“We will have to see how he reacts. He will be involved in training again if nobody tells me any different and then we have to make a decision.
“He was out for four weeks and will have been training for three days.”
As with Henderson and Can, Ragnar Klavan was fantastic in Dejan Lovren’s stead. Really, Klavan could have had a poor game, but in comparison with the shambolic display Lucas Leiva put on at the King Power Stadium on Monday night, he couldn’t go very wrong.
The Estonian centre-half took care of almost all danger with relative ease and showcased his composed passing. Having ball-playing centre-halves like Klavan and Jöel Matip allows Liverpool to maintain possession and ride out periods of pressure when they need to.
Although it might seem harsh on Klavan, Lovren will have a full week to prepare for Burnley’s visit to Anfield. The former Southampton man needs to return alongside Matip to allow Liverpool to regain some consistency with who lines up at the back.