Shropshire Star

Jurgen Klopp says Diogo Jota facing ‘months’ out as Liverpool injury woes worsen

Other players absent include midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic and centre-back Joel Matip.

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Liverpool’s injury crisis continues to deepen as forward Diogo Jota has been ruled out for “months” while there is no return date pencilled in for midfielder Curtis Jones or goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Jota and Jones were added to a list which now extends to nine senior players unavailable and is less than ideal with the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea to come on Sunday as the club continue to fight on four fronts.

“Not great, I would like to say no issues but we have some,” said Jurgen Klopp on his squad’s fitness ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Luton.

“Not available: Ali (Alisson), muscle injury – we don’t know how long it will take but definitely not the foreseeable time coming back – then we have Diogo with a knee issue is ruled out and Curtis, with a bone/ligament issue, is ruled out.

“With Diogo it will obviously take months. With others, we will deal with it day by day.

“With muscle things, we will see for tomorrow. The longer-term, Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee), and Dom Szoboszlai (hamstring) are on their way back but not in team training yet, so that means they are not available as well. That is the situation.”

Other players currently absent include midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic (both muscle injuries) and centre-back Joel Matip (ACL), while striker Darwin Nunez was replaced at half-time of Saturday’s win at Brentford as a precaution.

Jota’s lay-off is a big blow as he has hit form recently with five goals in seven matches and while his absence can be offset by the goalscoring return of Mohamed Salah at Brentford on Saturday, Jones’ unavailability in an area already stretched presents added complications.

Jones’ absence means Harvey Elliott or Ryan Gravenberch will most likely battle it out for the vacancy but beyond that the option is to drop forward Cody Gakpo back into a role he has fulfilled intermittently or bring in 19-year-olds James McConnell, who only made the first of his five senior appearances in October, or Bobby Clark, with seven appearances.

“We are where we are because of them, because the boys really delivered. We will see how many of them we will have to use and will give them the opportunity,” added Klopp.

“We have still options there, definitely, players who showed already what they can do like James or Bobby and others who didn’t feature yet but are in around that: (Lewis) Koumas, Dannsy (Jayden Danns), Trey (Nyoni) – they are all massive talents.”

It places an additional burden on the regular senior midfielders Wataru Endo, just back from the Asian Cup, and Alexis Mac Allister, who is likely to get a run in his preferred midfield position rather than the holding role he has performed for most of the season.

“Footballers nowadays can play different positions. There is absolutely no doubt about it, you have to get rid of these clear structures of who is where,” said Klopp.

Liverpool’s Alexis Mac Allister takes a corner
Alexis Mac Allister is set to resume his more attacking role in midfield (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“We don’t restrict players. Attackers have to defend and defenders have to attack, that is the best way to describe it.

“Alexis is just incredibly important for us; the tactical (side), the brain to do that says everything about him as a player.

“I don’t think he is really bothered about (where he plays), I’ve never heard anything about that he said he’d prefer to play higher.”

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