LIVERPOOL (Agencies): Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says his mounting injury list ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Ajax Amsterdam means he does not have enough fit players to rotate his squad.
The latest player to be sidelined at Anfield is utility man James Milner who suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Klopp said Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara remains out for a few more weeks and full back Trent Alexander-Arnold has not yet been given the green light to return to full training. Central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both remain out with a long-term injuries while forward Xherdan Shaqiri and midfielder Naby Keita are also missing for Tuesday’s game.
Asked if the busy schedule meant he would have to prioritise between European and domestic competition, Klopp said he never made such choices and that in any case he was in no position to rotate his squad. “I don’t have enough players to prioritise. It’s not about the competition it’s about the players. On Saturday the fittest players played,” he said.
Liverpool will go through to the knockout stage from Group D if they avoid defeat by Ajax and will be group winners if they win and Atalanta fail to beat Midtjylland.
Asked about dealing with a fixture pile-up while facing a lengthy injury list, Klopp said he had no choice but to cope with the circumstances. “It’s not a perfect situation but obviously not enough people want to offer us any kind of help (with the fixture scheduling), not only for us but for (all) football people. We just have to deal with it,” he said.
“I said it always – as long as we can line up with 11 players, we will fight with all we have and that’s still the case,” he added.