Jurgen Klopp believes that all Premier League clubs could eventually be decimated by injury – and that will even out a unique title race.
The Liverpool manager has seen his 15 members of his squad succumb to injury or test positive for Covid-19 so far this season, with Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson the latest doubts for the weekend.
But Klopp argued that even those clubs against using five subs to ease the unprecedented workload on players in the most intense season in football history will now start to suffer injuries, with games every three days until well into January.
And that means he expects his Liverpool side to keep winning and keep fighting to defend their title, despite the odds currently stacked against them.
“I said it, whoever is available we are still Liverpool. We are Liverpool, that is how we see it. Nobody really allows you to use that situation as an excuse and we don’t,” he explained.
“I think pretty much most of the people think we still have to win the games. You can see that when you speak before or after the game, people don’t talk ‘oh he’s not available, he’s not available’.
“Everybody tries to come through and some teams are more lucky with injuries than others and that is the situation. I am pretty sure that will level over the course of the season because it is just incredibly intense.”
Despite their injuries, Liverpool go into another massive game against Wolves this weekend level on points with Spurs at the top of the table.
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And they have already qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League as group winners earlier than they’ve ever achieved under Klopp.
That puts them in a strong position in the title race, with the Reds boss expecting their rivals to eventually suffer the same number of injuries as his squad – and those teams who don’t play in Europe suffering during a crazy Christmas fixture list.
“I said before, this is not a season where you throw a target at the start of the season on the table and say ‘we have to be here or there’,” he added.
“The situation is tough, 100% but we are on match-day nine or ten and it feels quite long but it is not even a third of the season.
Can Liverpool overcome their extensive injury list to defeat Wolves on Sunday? Have your say here.
“So who cares where in the moment [we are]? We try to play football, we’ve won some games, drawn in others, lost one, massively, and that’s the job.”
Klopp believes those Premier League managers, like Fulham ’s Scott Parker and Chris Wilder of Sheffield United, may live to regret their opposition to the use of five subs, because they believe it gives the clubs with bigger squad an advantage.
“Football, now the most intense period starts for all teams. From now on pretty much all the teams play every three days,” he said.
“And some teams will realise now how tough it is, and that is why we still have to talk about the five subs even though we didn’t vote yesterday. It will be massive for everybody from now on and every team will feel the difference.”
The Premier League declined to put the issue of fives subs to a vote at a meeting this week, and Klopp says he will continue to fight in a season of the like he has never experienced before.
“I have never had a situation like this,” Klopp said. “Of course not. But I don’t want to talk about it. We take it like it is. All players are in the red zone, and if we start talking about these kind of things, then next time another player is down.”
Klopp confirmed that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita have retuned to training with the first team squad, and both could be in the squad for the visit of Wolves on Sunday, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain “is close” to playing again.
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