Thursday 13 December 2018

Lallana poised to start as Klopp vows to learn from mistakes

Liverpool players (l-r) Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne go through their stretching routine at Melwood yesterday. Photo: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool players (l-r) Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne go through their stretching routine at Melwood yesterday. Photo: Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

As Adam Lallana prepares for his latest comeback in the Champions League tonight, manager Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool made a mistake in rushing his return from injury earlier this season.

Lallana has been limited to two starts and 10 substitute appearances since overcoming a thigh problem sustained last summer, his most recent action from the bench.

Klopp says the eagerness to reintegrate him around Christmas led to a further setback. That explains the more cautious approach lately, but with Liverpool protecting a huge 5-0 lead over Porto in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Anfield, the England international is expected to start.


"Life is to learn from your mistakes and we all have to learn. Adam, myself and the medical department - we made this mistake. He looked fit but obviously he was not," said Klopp.

"Maybe two little setbacks, not the biggest setbacks, but in and out, in and out, and that makes no sense. So, now we have to build with him. He is coming close.

"Adam, absolutely was an integral part of the team. And with the competition we have, for Adam it is still usually not a problem for him, because he is important to us.

"But, of course, he now has no rhythm, which is another thing. We still need him and we will use him. He is cool, he sees the quality of the team is good, but he is always one of the guys who pushes the level in training on to the next level."

Lallana's priority is to re-establish his position in Klopp's line-up.

Beyond that, England coach Gareth Southgate will be desperate for the 29-year-old to regain full sharpness in time for the World Cup finals.

"Adam has a 100pc (winning) statistic when he starts," said Klopp.

"He started at Burnley (and against Everton in the FA Cup) and we won. Adam had a serious injury, long-term. Then he was coming back he was not too lucky.

"Now he is coming back and training good and getting more and more stable fitness levels. That's good. We need Adam, 100pc, and we will use him for sure."

Klopp is expected to retain Loris Karius to enable the goalkeeper to build on his encouraging form.

His dilemma is whether to make many changes before Saturday's Premier League trip to Manchester United.

With such a strong lead over Porto, Liverpool's greatest enemy is complacency, and Klopp will not tolerate the idea the tie is over.

"I knew immediately after the final whistle in Porto this game will be a challenge, because of all the circumstances and all the questions," said Klopp.

"If we had drawn the game 0-0 it would be a fantastic result, or 1-1 even better, we would not be asked if we will rest (players).

"This is Liverpool it is a home game, we want to win the game. We will have a really strong team to win the game." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Liverpool v Porto Live, eir Sport 2, 7.45

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