Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has publicly stated he doesn’t want his players doing well while on international duty, ensuring they get back to Anfield sooner rather than later.
Mohamed Salah is due to play in the African Cup of Nations for Egypt, while Wataru Endo is heading for the Asian Cup with Japan. Klopp would rather both players return to the squad as quickly as possible, though, suggesting an early exit from their respective tournaments is preferred.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the FA Cup on Sunday, the Liverpool boss made his feelings clear about the mid-season international tournaments.
“I said if I wish them good luck it would be a lie,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.
“Hopefully they are out in the group stages but it’s not likely possible. Good luck and hopefully they can come back healthy. I am pretty positive we will find a way [to replace them] but we have to show that.”
Of course, missing top scorer Salah could prove damaging to Liverpool’s title challenge. The Reds currently sit top of the Premier League after 20 games, and could potentially miss their talisman for the League Cup semi-final, as well as games against Arsenal and Chelsea in the league.
Klopp, though, doesn’t seem too concerned, suggesting his squad will cope in Salah’s absence.
“Not a lot [will change]. I think we played against West Ham with Harvey there and we have different defensive options. Other players can play on the wing but maybe not like Mo, it’s not possible.
“We use the boys and their skills and that is the idea behind it. Do we want to play without Mo? No. But we will find a way but of course we play Arsenal and we can lose with Mo Salah but at the moment we have a chance to win the game, so we think about that.”
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