REUTERS – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is celebrating having at least one senior centre-back available from his injury-ravaged squad to face Premier League leaders Arsenal on Wednesday, with Kolo Toure set to play against his former club at Anfield.
Klopp has been hit with an injury crisis with 11 first-team players carrying knocks of varying seriousness, and the German has been cutting loan spells short and scouring the transfer market to plug the gaps.
Liverpool are eighth in the table and Klopp is sweating on the fitness of centre-half Mamadou Sakho and hoping he will not have to deploy midfielder Lucas as emergency cover against Arsene Wenger’s men.
“The situation is better than it was two or three days ago because I think Kolo will be available, so we will have a senior centre-back,” he told reporters on Monday.
“Mama wants to be available, hopefully we can use him and then we’ll see.
“That’s the situation, so we will probably have Kolo and Mama and the next one is Lucas (at centre-back).”
Klopp’s first-choice centre-back pairing of Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel will not make the game, although Lovren is nearer to a return than Skrtel.
“It’s always a big challenge to play against clubs like Arsenal and Man United. We have shown a plan against good footballing teams,” the German said.
Part of Klopp’s long-term plan at Anfield is to keep promising young players at the club rather than farm them out on loan, and the German confirmed on Monday that Liverpool had recalled goalkeeper Danny Ward from Aberdeen.
The 22-year-old has started 21 games for the Scottish Premiership side in all competitions this season, keeping 12 clean sheets.
“It was an easy decision. We watched his improvement at Aberdeen. It’s a moment when we have to make decisions,” Klopp said.
One player who is unlikely to be joining Liverpool is former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato, who plays for Corinthians in his native Brazil.
The 26-year-old was widely linked with a move to Anfield in the media but Klopp put an end to the speculation.
“My private advice to you is don’t follow the Pato path any longer,” he added.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)