Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed Mohamed Salah will have felt "social pressure" to attend his brother's wedding, a decision that sparked controversy after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Salah contracted COVID-19 while away on international duty with Egypt and missed his country's fixtures against Togo.

The 28-year-old was criticised after videos emerged of him dancing in a crowd of people at his brother's wedding a few days before he was due to play for Egypt.

He will miss Liverpool's Premier League clash with leaders Leicester City and his availability for their Champions League meeting with Atalanta on November 28 is also in doubt.

Salah has scored eight goals in eight Premier League appearances for Liverpool this season.

Klopp confirmed he had spoken to Salah about the issue but refused to discuss what internal action Liverpool had taken against the player.

"A brother's wedding is a very special moment," Klopp told a media conference on Friday.

"In other countries, in other situations, there's more social, I'm not sure if it's the word but, pressure, and stuff.

"He's probably back today. We are obviously in close contact with him all the time.

"How it always is in these cases is that when you have a negative test the process really starts. He's in a good place. He feels well. No symptoms.

"There is nothing to say in public about it. I have talked to my players about it. Nothing for the public. We are in the situation we are in.

"The rest is between Mo and me. We did that [talk] already and we are fine.

"What I can say about my players is they are incredibly disciplined. Football players in general are very disciplined."

Salah's absence with the virus added to Liverpool's ever-lengthening list of missing players as Klopp lost more key men to injury during the international break.

The most significant was Joe Gomez, who underwent surgery after he sustained a serious knee injury while on England duty.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, felt "a bit of tightness", according to England coach Gareth Southgate and Klopp said he will not be fit to face the Foxes on Sunday.

Virgil van Dijk is a long-term injury absence with a knee issue, while fellow defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is still nursing a hamstring problem.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still continuing his rehab from a knee injury, but midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are edging nearer to a return to fitness.

Klopp added: "They [Thiago and Fabinho] are all closer, but we’ll see if it's close enough for the weekend."

The Reds boss remains hopeful Liverpool's injury problems can help foster a sense of esprit de corps among his players.

He said: "We are a unit. A proper, proper unit. The more problems we have, the closer we stick together. 

"We don't go for excuses, we have the situation we have, we don't like the injuries we have because it is really hard for the boys who have the injuries, but all the rest is working on solutions. That's what we always do.

"We have solutions in our mind. Maybe we think we have the worst situation possible, but the season is long and we have only played eight games, so there will be a lot of problems.

"I have always said, whoever deals best with the problems in front of them has a chance to be really successful. That’s what we try to be."

Erling Haaland is reportedly being lined up as a target for Real Madrid in 2022, while Manchester United are eyeing Mauricio Pochettino.

Haaland, 20, is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe as he continues to star for Borussia Dortmund.

Madrid have plans for the Norway international.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE HAALAND IN 2022

Real Madrid are convinced Dortmund star Haaland is their man in 2022, according to AS.

Haaland has scored 10 goals in 10 games in all competitions for Dortmund this season.

The former Salzburg talent, Mino Raiola - his agent - and Dortmund reportedly have an agreement that a transfer away from BVB will be facilitated in 2022, though there is not thought to be a specific fee in mind yet.

Haaland has begun 2020-21 in fine form having netted five goals in as many Bundesliga games, picking up where he left off last term as he scored 13 in 15 league matches for Dortmund.

While early in the campaign, Haaland's shot conversion rate – excluding blocks – in the league this season (31.3 per cent) is lower than last term (52), but his big chance conversion is slightly higher (from 62.5 per cent to 66.7).

Seemingly flowing with confidence from last season, Haaland is averaging more shots in 2020-21 as well. Per 90 minutes, the striker is attempting 3.7 attempts from inside the box (including blocks) compared to 2.8 in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure, Manchester United have approached former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to potentially become manager, according to the Manchester Evening News. United are 15th in the Premier League ahead of visiting Everton on Saturday.

- In good news for Barcelona, Sport reports goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is completely committed to the Spanish giants amid links to Bayern Munich. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, says Barca could sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay for free next year, allowing them to potentially negotiate lower fees in January.

- Amid expectations he will leave Bayern Munich, David Alaba has been offered to Real Madrid, according to Marca. The defender is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying with Madrid – full-back Dani Carvajal is close to agreeing to a new contract until 2024, according to Marca.

- While he is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, Fabinho could be set for a renewal. Fabrizio Romano reports the midfielder is in talks to extend his deal through to 2025.

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has been ruled out of Brazil's upcoming World Cup qualifiers, replaced in their squad by Allan.

Fabinho, used at centre-back by Jurgen Klopp with Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip sidelined, suffered a hamstring injury in Liverpool's 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old will miss Brazil's qualifiers against Venezuela and Uruguay next month, it was confirmed on Thursday.

Everton midfielder Allan, who has played nine games for Brazil, has replaced Fabinho in Brazil's squad.

"The technical team of the Brazilian team called for midfielder Allan, from Everton, England, for the next two rounds of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers," a statement from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) read.

"The player was linked to the place of Liverpool's Fabinho, who was recalled due to muscle damage to his right thigh."

Brazil are top in CONMEBOL qualifying after winning their opening two matches ahead of meeting Venezuela on November 13.

Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho will not return to fitness before the November international break, according to the Brazil national team.

Coutinho suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's defeat to Real Madrid despite completing the full game at Camp Nou.

Barca said a timescale for the former Liverpool man's return "depends on how the injury evolves", but Brazil's doctors have also now assessed the player.

Doctor Rodrigo Lasmar believes "there is not enough time for the recovery of the player for his participation in the next two rounds of [2022 World Cup] qualifiers", a statement read.

Brazil have therefore called up Lyon's Lucas Paqueta in his place for the fixtures against Venezuela and Uruguay on November 13 and 17.

Should Coutinho be available for Barca again following the break, he would make his return against Atletico Madrid almost a month on from the initial issue.

Coutinho is set to be joined in missing Brazil's qualifiers by Liverpool's Fabinho.

The midfielder, who has been playing in defence for the Reds since Virgil van Dijk's injury, sustained a hamstring problem in Tuesday's Champions League win over Midtjylland.

Liverpool were waiting for a scan on the injury on Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp suggested Fabinho's absence would not represent a major blow for Brazil, as he has earned just 12 caps for his country and started on five occasions.

"I'm not sure if Tite's too worried because he plays him never, so he will probably now not sit on the bench for the next [two] international games," Klopp said.

Liverpool's defensive problems continue to grow after Jurgen Klopp confirmed Fabinho suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland on Tuesday.

Brazil midfielder Fabinho – filling in at centre-back due to the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip – pulled up while tracking back in the Group D fixture and went to ground shortly before being treated by Liverpool's medical staff.

He was replaced by youngster Rhys Williams in the 30th minute as Diogo Jota, whose effort brought up Liverpool's 10,000th goal in all competitions, and Mohamed Salah scored to secure a hard-fought win over the Danish side at Anfield.

Klopp is already without key player Van Dijk after the Netherlands star suffered a serious knee injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton earlier this month, and the Reds' boss is unsure over the severity of Fabinho's problem.

"Exactly the last thing we needed. I don't know, he felt his hamstring so that's not good," Klopp told BT Sport.

"He didn't feel it that much, he said he could've played on but not sprinting so that doesn't help. We will see, we will have to do a scan and see but clearly it's not good."

Klopp also withdrew captain Jordan Henderson at half-time, but revealed the switch was not related to injury.

"We had to make the change at half time with Hendo – he said he was fine but in these moments you have to be responsible and the plan before the game was to give him around 45 minutes so he would be okay for West Ham [on Saturday]."

It had been expected that Matip, who has not featured since the Merseyside derby, would be fit to return against West Ham, but Klopp could not make any assurances. 

"I don't know, we have to see," he said in his post-match news conference.

"Look, if it would be only one game we play, if it was the last game of the season, I think we could make him fit for one game – but we play three days later again and we need players again."

Should youngster Williams be called upon against West Ham, he will at least go into the match on the back of a solid showing alongside Joe Gomez.

Williams made one tackle, one interception and gained possession three times during his 67 minutes on the pitch against Midtjylland, though the Hammers would be likely to provide a much tougher test.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Fabinho's performance against Ajax, while insisting he was unsurprised by the Brazilian's display.

With Virgil van Dijk sidelined due to a serious knee injury, Fabinho started at centre-back alongside Joe Gomez as Liverpool opened their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

As well as producing a goal-line clearance to deny Dusan Tadic, Fabinho had four tackles, nine clearances and four interceptions.

Klopp was pleased with the Brazil international as Nicolas Tagliafico's first-half own goal proved to be enough for Liverpool in Group D.

"This combination with Joey and Fabinho, I don't think they played together before if I'm 100 per cent right. Maybe once but I don't really know," he told a news conference.

"So they need to get used to each other, they need to get used to the verbal demands in that position – what you have to say there to help the midfielders and all these kind of things.

"It was a really good performance but there's a lot to improve – how high or how low is the last line in which moment, in protection situations, in the pressing, 'How do we react there?' But it's no problem. It was absolutely good and now we carry on."

With Van Dijk set to miss most, if not the remainder, of the rest of the season, Fabinho will play a key role for Premier League champions Liverpool.

Klopp, whose team host Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday, said while the 26-year-old's performance was a boost, he was unsurprised.

"Look, in our situation it helps. Of course, was there pressure on the situation? Yes, it's clear for the two in the back there, 100 per cent. First game together," he said.

"Fabinho can play the position, he likes playing it actually. If I would have asked him to play right-back I don't think he would enjoy it as much as he's enjoying the centre-half position. In our situation in the moment we have to keep those boys fit and then they can of course help us a lot. I'm not surprised he plays well in the position otherwise we would have thought about a different solution, even when that would have been properly tricky.

"I'm really pleased for tonight, pleased for him, yes it gave him confidence, for sure helped us. These situations [goal-line clearances], Millie [James Milner] had last season one against Bournemouth, which was a massive one. That tonight was a massive one. And so he had not only because of this a big hand in this victory."

Fabinho was "a monster" in Liverpool's 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday, according to Alisson.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip injured, Fabinho moved into the centre of defence alongside Virgil van Dijk and was on song at Stamford Bridge, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp describing his display as "outstanding".

The Brazilian was key to helping the visitors keep a clean sheet that was preserved by compatriot Alisson saving Jorginho's penalty.

While Sadio Mane scored a double, it was Fabinho's work at the other end in keeping Chelsea newcomers Timo Werner and Kai Havertz quiet that most impressed Alisson.

"He was a monster," Alisson told the club's official website. "Unbelievable, but it's what I expect of him.

"If it's a surprise for you I would be surprised, because he is a top player. Anywhere he played, from number six or centre-back, he always does his best and his quality permits him to play in different positions.

"He's a really smart player on movements and also one-v-ones. That was needed against Werner, against Havertz and the other players with really good quality, so I congratulate him as he was in my opinion man of the match."

The game in west London proved to be a far more straightforward outing than Liverpool's season opener against newly promoted Leeds United, in which Klopp's men left it late to secure a dramatic 4-3 win at Anfield.

It means the Reds have kicked off their title defence with back-to-back victories, with Arsenal their next opponents in the top flight on Monday.

Jurgen Klopp lauded Fabinho for an "outstanding" performance at centre-back in Liverpool's 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip injured, Fabinho moved into the centre of defence alongside Virgil van Dijk and produced a fine display at Stamford Bridge.

Sadio Mane's second-half brace lifted Liverpool to a second straight win to begin the Premier League season, with the attacker earlier brought down by Andreas Christensen that led to the defender being sent off.

Klopp hailed Fabinho for his performance, although Liverpool needed a penalty save from Alisson to deny Jorginho to keep their clean sheet.

"If Sadio wouldn't have scored two goals, I think Fab would be a proper contender for man of the match," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"I loved his performance, he played outstanding. He helped us a lot with the ball and in defending as well, so yes, a proper performance."

Fabinho made a game-high four interceptions and gained possession 12 times, while completing 86 of his 89 passes.

In a further boost for Liverpool, Thiago Alcantara made his debut, replacing Jordan Henderson at half-time.

But Mane starred with his brace and Klopp said the attacker's second goal, when he dispossessed Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, highlighter Liverpool's hunger.

"It says everything about that and it says everything about the team as well. I love that because we have these situations quite a lot – that we chase the goalie," he said.

"I think in the first half Sadio was really close to blocking it there already but you just have to do it. I love it when we get the rewards for these kinds of situations.

"The first goal was a nice piece of football, everybody involved pretty much. [Roberto] Firmino cross and then Sadio comes in front of his man, so it's really difficult to defend. Good goal and gave the game the right direction. That's exactly what we have to show all the time, that's what we wanted to show today.

"I saw us today, I saw us playing football today and I'm completely fine with that. I loved it."

Liverpool face Lincoln City in the EFL Cup on Thursday before hosting Arsenal in the Premier League four days later.

Jurgen Klopp acknowledges Thiago Alcantara will need time to adapt to Liverpool's system but felt the 2-0 win over Chelsea was the "perfect" opportunity for a debut.

Thiago signed from Bayern Munich this week in an initial £20million transfer and was named on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

When captain Jordan Henderson had to be replaced at half-time, the Spain midfielder was introduced for his Premier League bow and played his part as Sadio Mane scored twice against Chelsea's 10 men.

Thiago completed 75 passes, more than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match and more than any Premier League player when on the pitch for only 45 minutes since Opta passing data began in 2003-04.

On the other hand, he conceded a penalty for a foul on Timo Werner, but Alisson saved Jorginho's spot-kick and Klopp was pleased overall with the performance of his new man.

"It was top timing," Klopp told Sky Sports. "He trained. He had eight days off or whatever. He played with Spain, he trained with Munich, he's fit, so that's not a problem.

"But of course, he's not used to our things. We play a different system, but that's how it is, that's how football is. You need to get used to your mates next to you.

"But then when they have one man down, it's pretty much the perfect game. And with Hendo feeling a little bit, we had to react and we decided to bring him on.

"I liked it, I liked his game a lot. Defensively was tricky for him because we set it up differently, but offensively, with the ball, yeah, that's him. He wants to pass the ball."

Thiago played at the base of the midfield, where Fabinho would usually be stationed.

The Brazilian was shifted into the centre of defence due to injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and Klopp was delighted with the way he dealt with Werner.

"Timo is a top player. With space, there is no real football tactic that can defend him when he has the ball," Klopp said.

"But Fabinho obviously is a pretty good challenger, really good in one-on-one situations. He did outstandingly well.

"He can play the position and obviously today enjoyed it a lot, so it was good, a really good performance. If Sadio doesn't score two goals, I think a man of the match contender would have been Fabinho."

Thiago was followed into Anfield by Diogo Jota, signed from Wolves, and Klopp was asked to reflect on a positive week for the champions.

"We've had a lot of good weeks in the past, to be honest, but this was a good one as well," he replied.

Liverpool moved a step closer to clinching their first title in the Premier League era with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Crystal Palace.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's delightful free-kick midway through the first half set Jurgen Klopp's side on the way as they maintained their 100 per cent league record at Anfield this season.

A 16th straight home victory in the competition in 2019-20, albeit this one coming inside an empty stadium due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, was wrapped up just prior to half-time by the returning Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool will now wait to see if Manchester City keep them waiting into July to end a 30-year wait to be crowned champions again; Pep Guardiola's side must win at Chelsea on Thursday to remain in the hunt, mathematically at least.

Palace were the last away team to triumph at Anfield in the Premier League, back in April 2017, though hopes of a repeat suffered an early blow when an already depleted visiting line-up lost the talismanic Wilfried Zaha to injury. 

Their cause was also not helped either by facing opponents clearly determined to do better after a Sunday stalemate against neighbours Everton. 

Georginio Wijnaldum had already spurned a glorious opportunity before Alexander-Arnold's sublime set-piece strike broke the deadlock, the full-back lifting the ball over the Palace wall and beyond Wayne Hennessey's desperate dive.

Fabinho's delightful pass picked out Salah's run in behind to lift the ball over the Palace goalkeeper in the 44th minute, while the Brazilian went for power to thump in a stunning third from distance 10 minutes into the second half.

Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his side's second-half transformation in Saturday's resounding 4-0 win over Southampton at Anfield.

The Reds were far from their fluid best during a chaotic first half and were lucky to not go in at the break behind, with Danny Ings, Shane Long and Nathan Redmond guilty of squandering presentable opportunities.

It was a different story after the interval, though, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain settling any nerves with a 47th-minute strike before a Jordan Henderson effort and two goals from Mohamed Salah sealed a 24th win in 25 Premier League games this season.

Klopp, whose side now hold a 22-point lead over Manchester City, was impressed with Southampton's display and accepts the result could have been a lot different had they taken advantage of their early chances.

He told a media conference: "First and foremost, I really have to say, wow, Southampton – what a team that is. I have been in football for so long and have never seen a turnaround like that.

"When I saw them playing at home against Chelsea months ago, I was really worried. That kind of turnaround is just exceptional.

"The set-up they have is constantly causing you problems. Their defending is really good and then their counter attacks are exceptional. [Danny] Ings and [Shane] Long, what they do there up front, how they are supported by the midfield and the wingers, is just exceptional.

"That's why we had the problems in the first half, because we lost the balls in the wrong moment.

"We had to change two or three things; most importantly we had to change the involvement of Fabinho. We played much calmer and used Fabinho better. It was just a better game and, in the end, we won it.

"The strange thing about this game is that it's not even too high a scoreline; it's just strange that Southampton could have won it as well. That just shows how difficult it was. Even more so, we are really pleased about the outcome."

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was delighted with his side's first-half display and hailed his players' ability to go toe-to-toe with the world champions for so long.

"Everybody who was at the game saw a very brave Saints squad and I would like to see this game again if we had scored the first goal," he said.

"I think for everybody it was fantastic to see that we can compete against such a team. It was a fantastic signal of how good we are and how it can go and how we can win."

Jurgen Klopp warned the Anfield factor will be "massive" as he urged Liverpool to set the tempo of Sunday's clash with Manchester United.

Liverpool had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Old Trafford in October, spared defeat by Adam Lallana's late goal after Marcus Rashford fired United ahead.

United set up to counter-attack on that occasion, despite having home advantage, and their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this week said his team had "found a nice way of playing" against Liverpool.

Those words could come back to haunt the Norwegian in the Premier League this weekend.

"Maybe they've found a specific way to play against Liverpool, but the difference between playing at Old Trafford and playing at Anfield is massive and we want to show that as well," Klopp said.

Rather than worry about teams 'parking the bus', Klopp's new mission is to stop the train - aware United's attackers can break at electric pace, just as they did to stunning effect in the derby against Manchester City in December.

"This game asks us for perfection. If you lose the ball at the wrong time, the train starts going and that's what is clear, but it's about us to make sure it will not happen," Klopp added.

The United draw remains the only game in which runaway leaders Liverpool have dropped points in the Premier League this season.

Klopp again pointed out his surprise at United's tactics in that previous meeting, and suggested he had no regrets over his comments about their fierce rivals' defensive approach.

"It's strange when you play against a high, high quality team, which is what United still is, and they played the way they play," Klopp said.

"We had it with Tottenham. After 70 minutes I think we had around 80 per cent possession. That's not normal. On the other hand, the counter-attacks are of the highest level in the world, that's for Tottenham and Man United for sure as well.

"I'm not saying they only counter-attack, but that's a main thing for them to do. If people want to see that as criticism, I cannot change that, but it's not, it's just a description of the situation."

Klopp said Fabinho and Joel Matip are fit to return to Liverpool's squad for the game after several months on the sidelines with their respective ankle and knee injuries, but Dejan Lovren will not resume full training until next week.

Fabinho expects to return to first-team action in the near future and warned Liverpool not to relent in their "incredible" season.

Defensive midfielder Fabinho has been absent since the end of November with an ankle injury, but Jurgen Klopp said on Friday he expects to have the Brazil international back in full training this week.

Liverpool have continued to shine in Fabinho's absence and a 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday moved them 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League, although Manchester City had a chance to trim that to 14 points on Sunday with a win over Aston Villa.

Speaking to Telefoot, Fabinho said: "I'm on the right path. We are in full recovery. I train individually.

"For example, I make changes in direction, but also exercises with the ball. I am very confident [about a quick comeback].

"I think I can resume soon, but we will see with the medical staff."

Roberto Firmino's first-half strike was enough to see off Tottenham as the Reds recorded their 20th top-flight victory in 21 games to take their tally to 61 points this term.

In the three-points-for-a-win era, that is the biggest haul any team in Europe's top five leagues has ever managed after 21 games.

But Fabinho is taking nothing for granted.

"We can win the title, but we are not yet champions. We are on the right track. What we have done so far is incredible, but we must continue," he added.

"I hope we will not crack. We have the confidence to continue like this. Despite the injuries, we continue to play at a high level."

Liverpool are back in action next Sunday when they host fierce rivals Manchester United at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp expects to have Fabinho and Dejan Lovren back in full training next week but James Milner and Naby Keita are unavailable for Liverpool's trip to Tottenham.

Defensive midfielder Fabinho has been absent since the end of November after sustaining ankle ligament damage in the 1-1 Champions League draw against Napoli.

Centre-back Lovren was enjoying a run in the team but has been out for a month due to a muscular issue, with Joe Gomez having impressed alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back for the unbeaten Premier League leaders.

However, both players are closing on a return that could come as soon as next weekend's clash with fierce rivals Manchester United.

"Dejan and Fabinho we expect to be back next week in full training, if that's early enough for the United game we will see," Klopp said. 

"They're working really hard, going through the paces, it's good."

Midfield duo Milner and Keita will sit out the clash in north London on Saturday due to muscle injuries.

"James and Naby are unavailable. Both muscles, different, and for different people," Klopp added. 

"Not a timeframe on it. We are open whenever they want to join us, when the medical team gives us the green light. Not this week, or next week, then we will see."

Klopp comes up against a familiar foe this weekend in Jose Mourinho, with Liverpool's 3-1 triumph over United in December 2018 seeing the Portuguese sacked by the Red Devils.

Liverpool boss Klopp is expecting to face a well-drilled Tottenham side, who will have to do without prolific captain Harry Kane.

"I'm expecting a very organised Tottenham side, yes," he added. "Putting some emphasis on defending for sure, using the counter-attacks, but team is too good technically to do just that.

"[Christian] Eriksen, [Dele] Alli, [Giovani] Lo Celso, lots of midfielders who can create situations, the speed they have with Lucas [Moura] and Son [Heung-min] too. 

"It could be [Serge] Aurier and [Ryan] Sessegnon are on the wings on top of that with speed.

" We cannot be 100 per cent sure what they will do but we have signs from what Mourinho did at Man United against us. Different teams and players though. That is normal. Our analysis always ends quite a way from the truth. It is the same for us, we want to be unpredictable.

"Mourinho is a world-class manager with a specific mindset. He wants to win. I respect that a lot. Each situation his team is in he tries to use. That is how managers work."

Jurgen Klopp has been hailed as the world's best coach by Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch, whose side are preparing to face Liverpool in a crunch Champions League clash.

Liverpool hold an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League after 15 games, having missed out on the title by one point last season.

That disappointment was tempered by victory in the Champions League, as the Reds claimed their sixth European Cup title.

However, Liverpool could miss out on the last 16 of this season's competition if they slip to a defeat against Salzburg – who, spearheaded by Erling Braut Haaland, have impressed in Group E.

Former United States midfielder Marsch, who was an assistant at RB Leipzig last season following spells of coaching in MLS, took over at Austrian champions Salzburg in June.

Salzburg currently lead the way in the Austrian Bundesliga, and Marsch has lauded Klopp as world football's leading coach.

"Jurgen Klopp is probably the best coach in the world right now," Marsch told Omnisport.

"I think you can fairly say that from the way his team is performing and the history he has in the game, and the way that he's had success in Germany and England.

"Trying to match up against his team is not so easy for us, especially when you talk about the talent that he has on the pitch. So what? We're going to play the game and it's going to be more about the two teams than it is about the two coaches.

"For me, it would not mean anything more to beat Klopp, it would mean a lot more for our team to be successful against this team, against Liverpool, against his team.

"That's the focus. I don't get too much into ego-driven, personal relationships. It's always going to be about our team and how good is our team on the day and how prepared are they."

Liverpool will be without Fabinho for Tuesday's encounter, with the midfielder having suffered an injury against Napoli which will keep him out until 2020.

Marsch, however, insists Liverpool will be no easier to play against.

"For me, Fabinho is one of their most important players. His ability to control the game with and without the ball and understand moments of the game is what makes them partly so good," Marsch said.

"But they've played without him a lot. They played without him last year in the Champions League. So they've been in this situation before without Fabinho.

"They have so many good, quality experienced players that I don't expect them to miss him too much, but he's certainly a key player for them."

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