Jurgen Klopp would expect his boys to keep up the good work as they travel Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday.
Liverpool crushed Manchester City 3-0 in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield on Wednesday. The victory put them in firm position to qualify for the semi-finals, with the second leg set to be played at the Etihad Stadium next Tuesday.
Before the second leg, the Reds face Everton in the Merseyside derby, at the Goodison Park. Due to a depleted squad, Klopp is expected to heavily rotate his squad.
Liverpool will be without Emre Can, Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana, Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip for the trip to Everton. However, Klopp refused to confirm if star forward Mohamed Salah would feature or not.
Salah was forced off seven minutes into the second half of the midweek Champions League victory over Manchester City. Since then, the Liverpool medical department has been working closely with the Egyptian to get him fit ahead for the Merseyside derby and for the return leg against City.
“I don’t think it makes sense to talk here about what we do with the boys in rehab. But, of course, you can imagine we have tried everything to make him available,” Klopp told in his pre-match presser, as quoted by Liverpoolfc.com.
“[There are] still 24 hours to go pretty much, or 23 hours to go until we start. So let’s see what happens.”
On further injury updates and team selection, Klopp was quoted by the Mirror,
“We have a difficult situation. We have to consider everything. But we need to have a line-up that can win the game.”
“I don’t want to give that information away. We want to wait a little bit. You will see who is available and who isn’t when the line-up is out tomorrow.”
Liverpool striker Danny Ings is back in the squad after recovering from a horrific knee injury. He has failed to get into Klopp’s first-team plans but remains a potent option off the bench.
When asked about the possibility of Ings starting against Everton, our manager said:
“Thank God Danny is here and in a good shape. I wouldn’t guarantee [a start] but his chances don’t look too bad.”
Injuries have piled up for us, with Matip ruled out for the season due to a thigh injury. This has left Klopp with limited first-team options and ahead of the Everton clash, our manager allowed few youngsters to train with the first team squad.
Asked about the youngsters’ involvement tomorrow, Klopp explained:
“For young players, it isn’t about getting the opportunity it is about being ready.
“They are around but because we loaned out players, Ryan Kent, Harry Wilson, Ejaria, Ojo, Grujic, they are the next generation.
“They are really talented boys and I want to use them, but in the right games.”
Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain has been receiving a lot of plaudits for his performances in 2018. The England international scored a 20-yard cracker in the 3-0 win over Manchester City and Klopp praised the midfielder.
“It is because of his quality and potential. He never blamed Wenger for not improving enough but it is sometimes about changing the environment.
“Being in a different place can make things better. He was ready to work hard and there is a different style of football. That obviously helped him.
“He still has a lot of things to improve but he is an outstanding talent.”
Klopp was asked to describe Everton’s form this season, to which he replied:
“It isn’t my job. They will be motivated to the highest level. They have a very good home record and are a really good team.
“Bolasie and Walcott, Tosun is in a good form, they have a good football team. At Goodison, we need to be ready.
“In the last few years, there has been one very harsh challenge – in all the derbies I have played so far. I hope we can go through the game without that.
“We all have our challenges and hopefully we can do that without injuries.”
Liverpool remain in the driving seat to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals following the 3-0 victory at Anfield.
Klopp was asked if he is prioritising the second leg against City over the Everton game, to which our gaffer responded:
“The only way to do this job is to focus on the next game and that’s Everton. If I think after the last game we have to do this or that we will do it, but it’s never looking ahead to another game.”
It is always tough to go to Goodison Park and win but we have been a dominant force in the Merseyside derby. Let’s hope Klopp uses the players at his disposal to good effect.