Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits his squad lacks depth going into busy festive period
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp admits he is concerned about the depth of his squad ahead of a busy period, but he has been warned off one his prime January targets by former club Borussia Dortmund.
Injuries will prevent Klopp from freshening up his side as much as he would like during the Christmas fixtures, starting when Liverpool travel to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.
Klopp wants to add to his squad next month, but the player he would most like – teenager Christian Pulisic – will not be available according to Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc.
Klopp offered £11 million for the 18-year-old in August, and retains a strong interest in a player who moved to Germany while the Liverpool manager was still in charge at Dortmund.
“We have made it quite clear that we are not going to sell Christian and that we are planning with him,” Zorc told Germany’s Bild newspaper. “Liverpool can save the effort of making an offer.”
Such resistance will come as no surprise to Liverpool, but Klopp has made known his concerns about the impact on his squad of recent injuries. Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Emre Can and long-term absentee Danny Ings are unavailable, meaning the Liverpool manager has had to promote several under-23 players.
“It’s far away from being the perfect situation,” said Klopp. “Emre is out for this game, for example. If Emre was back then we would have one position to change, with an experienced player. I love our young players. They are brilliant, but West Ham was not a game to bring them in.
“We believe in them, of course, and we will use them for sure. It’s not perfect but what can I talk about? We cannot change it in this moment, because you will start asking about what I will do in the transfer window.
“We have to sort it out now, players will come back, we will see how another one develops and take our decisions. We take what we get.
“The difference is, if you want, that we have had our [injury] problems already. Other teams will get them because no one will go through without problems.”
Klopp’s major decision tonight is whether to stand by keeper Loris Karius, but he is adamant collective responsibility is needed to protect whoever starts in goal.
“Of course when you concede goals there is a discussion here, a discussion there. We discuss it ourselves. We analyse,” he said.
“We are much less personal. We won’t say, ‘Are you crazy? What did you do in this situation?’ OK, we had the situation at Bournemouth. That was bad defending. People said, ‘If we had Matip’. OK, so Matip would have been able to run all around for that fourth goal? It was a general feeling. We didn’t feel comfortable. We didn’t push up. But it only helps if we all do better.
“If you have a goalkeeper and you let them shoot from everywhere, it doesn’t change. We have to avoid this as a team and we do avoid it very often. That is why when people speak about defensive problems, I knew already we are defending well. People always ask for new players but my job is to work with the players we have and do it consistently well. When I say we did not have the right balance in the game, defending starts in the offensive situation.
“The defending begins by putting pressure on the player who passed the ball or we should have more players behind the ball.”