Jurgen Klopp said he could use a Javier Mascherano-type solution amid Liverpool's injury crisis in the centre of defence.

With Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip sidelined, Liverpool were dealt another blow on Tuesday, when Fabinho – playing at centre-back instead of midfield – hurt his hamstring against Midtjylland in the Champions League.

Joe Gomez is the only senior centre-back available for Saturday's clash at home to West Ham, while Nathaniel Phillips, 23, Billy Koumetio, 17, and Rhys Williams, 19, are also options.

Klopp said he had expected Phillips, who was on loan at Stuttgart last season, to leave the club.

The Liverpool manager also said it was possible he could use Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner or Andy Robertson at centre-back, in a similar way to what Mascherano – initially a defensive midfielder – did during his career.

"I know Nat [Phillips] the longest so I was really happy with this development. Since I know him he made big, big steps and is an exceptional character," Klopp told reporters.

"I said it before that the little problem was that we were all convinced, how it looked all the time… there were a lot of clubs interested in him and in the end, maybe because of the coronavirus crisis, nobody had the money to do it but we expected him to leave the club, to be honest. Thank God he didn't, but that's the reason why he is not in the Champions League squad, the only reason.

"He cannot be on the bench in the Champions League but he is available for the Premier League like all three are and now I have to make a decision.

"And we have still, obviously, other options like Hendo or Gini or James – or Robbo can play centre-half as well. They are all not smaller than Mascherano, for example, and he played pretty well in that position.

"So yes, we have obviously still one or two options and one of them, we will choose. Which one, you have to switch on the television tomorrow night."

Liverpool have collected 13 points from their opening six Premier League games of the season to sit second in the table.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his players have earned some easier victories after a hard-fought 2-1 Premier League win over Sheffield United on Saturday.  

After two top-flight games without tasting success, the champions returned to winning ways after Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota overturned Sander Berge's early penalty for Chris Wilder's side, who remain winless so far this season.  

The result extended the Reds' unbeaten run at Anfield in the Premier League to 62 games and Klopp - who disputed the decision to award the Blades a spot-kick for Fabinho's challenge on Oliver McBurnie - praised the relentless nature of his side.  

"You always have to work hard against Sheffield United. It's hard to take for Chris Wilder," he told BBC Sport. 

"The penalty was not even a foul. We have had an injustice and we have had to go again. I love these games, as you earn all of the rest. You earn the easier games when it all goes your way on nights like this. 

"We struggled with McBurnie in the first half but we changed our positioning and won the second balls. We were dominating at 2-1 and had some really good football but then they came back. 

"They never give up, I respect that so much. They go and go and go. Chris is doing a wonderful job." 

With the injured Virgil van Dijk absent for the first time in 95 Premier League games, Liverpool never looked completely comfortable at the back and allowed the Blades 13 shots on goal.  

Captain Jordan Henderson conceded the champions were far from their best but took encouragement from their ability to carve out a positive result. 

"It was hard as expected," he said. "They are a good side who work really hard. We knew it would be difficult and we are delighted to get the points. 

"McBurnie was very good in the air so it was hard for the lads at the back, but they coped and worked it out better in the second half. We should have killed the game off with another goal or two. 

"I am only interested in the mentality in our changing room and I see hunger, resilience, character to dig in and win if you are not playing at your best. We showed we can dig in and see results out." 

Jordan Henderson says it is the responsibility of the whole squad to ensure Virgil van Dijk returns to a Liverpool team challenging once again for major honours. 

The Reds were dealt a huge blow when it was confirmed their towering centre-back requires surgery on damaged knee ligaments sustained after an ugly challenge from Jordan Pickford in the 2-2 draw against Everton on Saturday. 

Van Dijk is expected to miss the majority of the rest of the campaign and potentially may not play again this season. 

Liverpool have won the Champions League, Club World Cup and Premier League over the past two seasons and captain Henderson told his team-mates that culture of competing for big honours must continue in the absence of Van Dijk. 

"That's down to us as players to make sure that when he is back and he is fit that we're still fighting to be successful and fighting for trophies," Henderson told Liverpool's official website. 

"You've got to use times like this to be stronger and to be even more together than we already are. And use it as a positive in some way – I know it sounds ridiculous at the moment, but that's what you need to try to do.  

"We need to try to look forward and try to help us in the next however many months Virgil will be out for. 

"And also stick by him and be there for him whenever he needs us. But he's a strong character, he's strong mentally and he certainly will be back stronger and hopefully it's not too long."

The absence of the Dutchman is sure to be keenly felt by the champions, particularly in the immediate term with goalkeeper Alisson still out of action.

Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have played 70 league games with Alisson and Van Dijk in the starting line-up, winning 56, drawing 10 and losing four, giving them a win rate of 80 per cent. 

By contrast, in 92 games led by the German without those two involved, Liverpool have won 49 times, drawn 27 and lost 16, their win rate dropping to 53.3 per cent and their points per game slipping to 1.9 from 2.5. 

Without Alisson and Van Dijk, Liverpool have conceded 110 goals – 1.2 per game – compared to just 51, or 0.7 per game, when they have played. 

Henderson said in his role as skipper he will be there to help Van Dijk through the difficult times. 

"It's a tough one. It's a big blow for us. For him personally, obviously. But for us as a team, a massive blow," he added. 

"I'm just gutted for him. So, it's been a tough couple of days, I spoke to him yesterday. And yeah, it's a difficult moment, but that's when you need to be there for each other. 

"I'll be there as much as I possibly can for him, I'm sure the lads will do the same and his family certainly will, to help him through the journey he'll go on."

Jurgen Klopp was left to rue contentious VAR decisions after Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by Everton in a frantic Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Jordan Henderson thought he had snatched the winner for Liverpool in stoppage time at Goodison Park, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR, with Sadio Mane deemed to have drifted offside in the build-up. 

Jordan Pickford made some superb saves but should have done better for Henderson's disallowed goal and was fortunate to be on the pitch at all after his challenge on Virgil van Dijk shortly after Mane's opener, with the foul not given due to the Dutchman being offside. 

Everton – who scored through Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin either side of Mohamed Salah's 100th Liverpool goal – also had Richarlison sent off for a lunge on Thiago Alcantara late on. 

Though thrilled with a performance which he labelled as his side's best at Goodison, Klopp was left confused by the officials' decisions. 

"The performance was top. A good game from both teams," Klopp, who on Saturday also celebrated the fifth anniversary of taking charge of his first Liverpool match, told BT Sport. 

"We were clear, dominant against a side that is full of confidence. We played a really good game, probably the best away game since I am at Liverpool, playing at Goodison. In the end it's 2-2 for different reasons." 

On Pickford's tackle that forced Van Dijk off injured, Klopp said: "I didn't see it back, it took a while so obviously the offside was not too big and Pickford kicks him completely. 

"Then the Henderson goal, it was the pass for Sadio, and I didn't see offside. Maybe somebody can explain it to me. The picture I've seen was not offside. 

"It's difficult at the moment. The red card for Richarlison is not only a red card for Everton, it's a massive foul on Thiago and [his injury] looks not good. 

"The game is over, we've only got one point, maybe we should have more, but we cannot change it. The game was good, I loved it, a really good game. 

"The [Everton] second goal is an individual thing. Calvert-Lewin is an incredible player, that's all he had to do and he did it, apart from that we dominated it. Both teams get the point." 

A point was enough to lift Liverpool, who have not lost to Everton since October 17, 2010, up to second, three points behind Carlo Ancelotti's side. 

Jordan Henderson said Liverpool would have deserved to win the Merseyside derby as he expressed frustration at his late strike being ruled out.

The clash between early leaders Everton and reigning Premier League champions Liverpool finished 2-2 at Goodison Park.

Henderson looked to have given Liverpool all three points when he swept home Sadio Mane's cross in stoppage time, only for a VAR check to show Mane was fractionally offside before sending in his low centre.

It meant the derby finished in high drama, with Everton having been reduced to 10 men moments later when Richarlison was red-carded for a dangerous lunge on Thiago Alcantara.

"It doesn't feel good," said Liverpool captain Henderson, when asked about the late goal being chalked off.

"I felt as though we deserved to win the game. I've nothing to say really.

"I thought the reaction was good from the boys for the whole game and we deserved to win, yeah."

Henderson was asked about the early incident that saw Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk clattered by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Pickford's challenge was poorly timed and he would have almost certainly conceded a penalty and possibly been sent off, had Liverpool not been penalised for another case of offside.

"It happened quick," Henderson said, speaking on NBC. "I think it's a penalty if it's not offside."

Van Dijk was hurt and had to be substituted, with Henderson describing the Dutch defender's loss as "a big miss for us".

Henderson is confident Liverpool will shake off the derby disappointment.

He said: "We'll just keep performing like that with the same intensity, recover well and get ready for the next game like we always do."

Liverpool were controversially denied a Merseyside derby victory as Jordan Henderson saw a late winner ruled out by VAR in a 2-2 draw with 10-man Everton. 

Premier League leaders Everton twice came from behind to level in an absorbing contest at Goodison Park. 

Michael Keane cancelled out Sadio Mane's third-minute opener and Dominic Calvert-Lewin did the same after Mohamed Salah scored his 100th goal for Liverpool. 

Richarlison was sent off for a rash challenge on Thiago Alcantara and that indiscretion looked to have been doubly punished in injury time by Henderson, only for VAR to intervene and keep Everton three points ahead of Liverpool, who are unbeaten in 23 Merseyside derbies in all competitions, at the top of the table. 

 

 

Jurgen Klopp wants more help from the Premier League, television broadcasters and international football associations as his Liverpool squad prepare for an international break complicated by coronavirus.

The champions have made a strong start to the new campaign, beating Leeds United, Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of their next match against Aston Villa.

But the Villa game is followed by an international window - including CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers - and a tight turnaround considering the implications of long-distance travel and COVID-19 testing.

At the end of a low-key news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Villa Park, Klopp was asked about the challenge his international stars face in the coming weeks and offered a lengthy answer.

"I really don't want to sound disrespectful," he said. "We don't know too much about what other countries are doing.

"But I think it's like how everybody at the moment wants to have your family around you. If your son or daughter said, 'I want to travel there or there', you'd say 'I'm not sure if it's right in the moment'.

"It's a little bit like how it is with the football players. You want to keep them. I don't say that this is the safest place in the world, but it is the place we know at least and we know how to deal with the different situations, different scenarios.

"Yes, I'm slightly concerned, because it's difficult to get in contact with all FAs over the world. I understand 100 per cent the demands on FAs as well, UEFA, FIFA, all that stuff, I really understand it.

"I know how difficult the situation is for everybody. But it's just not exactly perfect the information we get from some FAs. You just don't know exactly.

"Then pretty often, as a football club, you are pretty alone in these moments. We send the players away.

"The Premier League and TV broadcasters give us another challenge on top, because they just don't care.

"If our players play on Wednesday night in Peru, for example, they still think it's a good idea to let us play on Saturday pretty early. Stuff like this, these are our problems.

"If they use normal flights, they arrive Friday afternoon and we play Saturday, maybe 12-something, against Everton. It's just these kinds of things.

"In these moments as a club, you are completely alone. Supporters of other clubs say, 'What do you want? You moan constantly'. I don't moan! I know it's difficult.

"It's just I really think - and we cannot say just here in our own country - the Premier League and the TV broadcasters don't care, it's just the same.

"As a club, you are alone in this moment. You have to make sure you bring the players home in the quickest and most safe way, because nobody else is.

"It's not like any FA says, 'Here is the private plane'. This is the situation we are in.

"That's one thing. Then they arrive on Friday, we have to see and then they take a test and you get a result the Saturday. It's really tricky.

"We try everything to make it right, to make it as safe as possible. But from time to time, a little more help would not be bad."

There was one benefit Klopp could acknowledge of the international break, with Jordan Henderson "not injured anymore" and looking to now get "match fit".

"He will have minutes, I think, for England, which is a proper win-win situation," Klopp said. "I'm really happy about that."

Liverpool will assess Jordan Henderson to see if he can face Aston Villa after it was confirmed the Reds' skipper misses out again against Arsenal in the EFL Cup.

England midfielder Henderson sat out Monday's 3-1 win over the Gunners in the Premier League having lasted just 45 minutes of the victory against Chelsea in the previous top-flight match due to a thigh injury.

Henderson was ruled out of the upcoming EFL Cup fourth-round match against the Gunners and remains a doubt for the fixture at Villa this weekend, and potentially also for England over the international break.

Assistant boss Pep Lijnders offered an update on Henderson, as well as Joel Matip (muscular) and Kostas Tsimikas (thigh), who are also unavailable against Arsenal on Thursday.

"Yeah, Jordan we will re-evaluate on Friday after this game to see if he's ready with Villa or at least to train with the team," he said.

"We have of course Joel, who was progressing well but won't be back until after the international break.

"Kostas needs few more days. He felt his thigh in the Lincoln game. We thought it would settle but it didn't so he will be out of the next two games."

Thiago Alcantara, who joined from Bayern Munich in this transfer window, is self-isolating at home after returning a positive test for coronavirus.

Lijnders said there are no concerns for the wider squad due to protocols in place at the club.

"Health and family are the most important things in life. We wish him a speedy recovery, but I wish everyone who is fighting this virus a speedy recovery," he said.

"It's a big compliment to our structure, we have testing in place with the Premier League but we also do private testing.

"The most important thing is following discipline rules, we're following disciplining rules, we test immediately when these things happen so everything is okay."

Lijnders said the win over Arsenal was one of the most impressive performances he has seen during his time at the club but stressed the EFL Cup tie against the same opponents is an altogether different test.

"It's one of my favourite games since I've been here, going 1-0 down, playing how we play, no ego, constant team play, being dominant in each game moment over 90 minutes, pressing and counter pressing," he said.

"I'm really happy with that game, we are happy of course.

"We go from the Premier League to the EFL Cup, so it is a final - it is a proper win or lose. Mikel has established a clear identity at Arsenal - they will try to improve, but that is the same for us, despite there being only two days in between."

Jurgen Klopp has described Mikel Arteta as an "exceptional football manager" as he targets his first win over Arsenal since the Spaniard launched his north London revolution. 

Liverpool manager Klopp saw his championship-winning side fall to a rare Premier League loss in July when they faced Arteta's Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. 

Arsenal then inflicted a penalty shoot-out defeat on Liverpool in the Community Shield at the end of August, leaving Klopp still searching for that elusive victory over Pep Guardiola's former assistant. 

On Monday, the teams resume their intriguing recent rivalry at Anfield, and while Klopp is confident Liverpool can extend their 100 per cent start to the season, he can see Arteta instilling a culture at Arsenal that is built for success. 

After nine months at the helm, a club that was blighted by instability before Arteta's arrival looks to have a firm footing and a sense of direction. 

"Mikel Arteta has shown in a pretty short period of time that he seems to be an exceptional football manager. The structure of the team is absolutely exceptional," Klopp said. 

"You can see the balance between defence and offence is really good. There's good organisation, freedom for the players and he uses the players in the right position. 

"Since he's been there, he's done a pretty impressive job, changed the whole mood in the club. I don't think a lot of people thought he would have won any competition, but he did that by winning the FA Cup and also the English 'Super Cup' [the Community Shield]. 

"That’s pretty impressive. So it's a tough, tough opponent.

"They defend properly, all the players are involved. They defend in a 5-4-1 which is a pretty tricky situation. I can say a lot of positive things about Arsenal because it's true, but I think we still have a chance on Monday night." 

Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson for the Arsenal game after he was substituted in the win at Chelsea last Sunday because of a thigh problem. 

That could open the door for Thiago Alcantara to make his home debut from the start, following his arrival from Bayern Munich. 

Klopp was cautious on that prospect, yet the recent Champions League winner would be an obvious candidate given how well he performed after replacing Henderson at Stamford Bridge. 

"We will see," Klopp said. "We have a few days to train, so we will see how we set up. I have an idea, but why should I make a decision today? But he’s in contention, so let’s see."

Liverpool are optimistic captain Jordan Henderson will be fit for their Premier League match against Arsenal next Monday.

Henderson had to come off with a thigh issue in the 2-0 win over Chelsea last time out and will not be fit in time to play a part in the away EFL Cup third-round match against Lincoln City on Thursday.

But assistant manager Pep Lijnders suggested the midfielder's injury was not serious, while defender Joe Gomez is poised to return to training.

"Hendo, hopefully he will get back next week," Lijnders said to the club's website ahead of the Lincoln game.

"[Thursday] for sure is too soon for Hendo. Maybe [back for Arsenal], yeah, hopefully. It will be tight, day by day, let us hope.

"[For] Joe [it] comes too soon, he will train Friday with the team – that is good news, to be honest. 

"Joel Matip will probably only come back during the international break; that will take some longer time, some more time." 

While Liverpool have won the Premier League and Champions League in the past two seasons, they have not triumphed in a domestic cup since winning the EFL Cup in 2012.

"We want to attack each competition," Lijnders said at his pre-match news conference.

"In football you cannot think far ahead, especially this season – [it is like a] Christmas period from now on, but we prepared with a good pre-season. 

"This team has the mentality to just focus on next game. Most important thing is how we have evolved our squad, it gives us more opportunity to attack each competition. 

"Last year we spoke about talent. This phase has gone, these [young] players now represent a position in our squad. We feel we are ready."

Asked about how many youngsters would feature in the starting XI to face Lincoln, Lijnders added: "The team on Thursday will be strong.

"It's about finding a good balance to combine experience [and youth]. We will be playing [against] a team that will defend deep and counter-attack and has pace on the wings. 

"They are on a good run and have an experienced manager, a club that over the last four years was quite successful with two promotions.

"So we have to be prepared – our team selection will reflect that. I don't want to give the team at this moment because we still have one training [session] to go, we have to see how a few players are.

"We want to attack that game, show our hunger, show our desire, put a team out who represents our club – with big, big names involved, big, big players involved. And a lot of talent as well."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson returns to action as the Premier League champions begin their title defence against promoted Leeds United.

Henderson missed the closing four games of last season after suffering a knee injury, and also sat out the Community Shield at the end of August.

But he was passed fit to face Leeds in midfield alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita, as James Milner and Fabinho drop to the bench.

Trent Alexander-Arnold also returns at right-back to replace Neco Williams, with Liverpool's attack having a familiar look as Jurgen Klopp selects Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool won the Premier League by a staggering 18 points last season, while Leeds came up after topping the Championship.

The Yorkshire side earned themselves top-flight football for the first time since the 2003-04 season, with head coach Marcelo Bielsa masterminding the team's rejuvenation.

Bielsa hands a debut to Robin Koch, the Germany defender acquired from Freiburg, but striker Rodrigo is only a substitute for the Anfield clash following his big-money arrival from Valencia.

 

Jurgen Klopp expects Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson to return to full training next week.

Henderson was not selected among the substitutes for Liverpool's final pre-season friendly with Blackpool on Saturday as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

However, manager Klopp provided a positive update on Henderson, whom he anticipates will take part in a full session in the coming days.

Liverpool begin their defence of the Premier League title against promoted Leeds United next Saturday.

Explaining Henderson's absence from the clash with the League One club, Klopp told Liverpool's official website: "Obviously Hendo was desperate to play a few minutes today as well, but it makes no real sense because he had to do an important session today for him.

"If he would have played today, 10 minutes or so would have probably been okay. But that makes no sense.

"So that was not possible, but he trained in big parts of this week and will probably join full team training next Tuesday.

"Timing-wise, not perfect that he cannot play today, but can train a few days later fully. But that's how it is.

"We will see how he develops, [there are] a few days until Leeds, how the boys come back from the national teams.

"A lot of open questions still, but a few hopefully we can answer today."

Virgil van Dijk faces competition from three Liverpool team-mates and two rivals from Manchester City to retain his PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

Netherlands centre-back Van Dijk was the first defender to win the honour since John Terry in 2005 when he got the nod last year.

And this time around he is up against some familiar faces, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane also included after Liverpool's dominant Premier League campaign.

City, who finished a distant second as the Reds ended their 30-year title drought, have two representatives in the shape of Kevin De Bruyne and former Anfield star Raheem Sterling.

Alexander-Arnold is also in the Young Player of the Year Category, a list which contains Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, Chelsea pair Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount, and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka.

In the women's game it is Chelsea who dominate the Player of the Year nominees, with Beth England, Sophie Ingle, Guro Reiten and Ji So-yun nominated along with Kim Little and holder Vivianne Miedema, both of Arsenal.

And for the women's Young Player of the Year there is a distinctly more northern feel to the shortlist, which consists of Man City quartet Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Georgia Stanway and Ellie Roebuck, United's Lauren James and Chelsea's Erin Cuthbert.

Jordan Henderson believes Liverpool look ready for the new season as they prepare for their Premier League title defence. 

The Reds ended a 30-year wait to be crowned champions but there has been little time to dwell on t, considering the restructured schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Jurgen Klopp's squad have spent time at a training camp in Austria as part of their pre-season plans, including playing friendly fixtures against Salzburg and Stuttgart. 

Henderson is still recovering from a knee injury that cut short his involvement in the previous campaign, though the England midfielder has been impressed by what he has seen from the squad during the trip. 

They are next in action against Arsenal on Saturday in the Community Shield, offering Liverpool an early chance to claim silverware as they bid to build on what they achieved in 2019-20. 

"You've got to look at the players in the squad and the manager as well, it's always about looking forward and wanting more and improving," Henderson said during an interview with Liverpool's official website. 

"I think that's just natural to us now. We've always looked at the next game as we always see it as the biggest one and that 90 minutes we give everything to win. 

"Pre-season is no different, you know you've got to train so hard to be ready for the first game of the season, which for us comes against Arsenal in the Community Shield – so a little bit earlier than everybody else. 

"We've got to be right at it come that first game and we've got another chance to win silverware. The Premier League starts pretty quick after that as well, so you need to be ready, as you do in every season. As I say, by the looks of it, we are." 

Henderson also revealed he had not heard much talk about ending the title drought, instead the focus switching to a "new start" with games set to come thick and fast in the opening months.

"To be honest, we haven't spoken about it," Henderson said. "It's more about, 'Have you enjoyed your holiday?'

"We've been cracking on, really working hard. New season, new start and a lot more things we want to go on and achieve.

"[I'm] really excited to see what we can do this season, another big season for us. Hopefully we can take confidence from the last year or two, but we need to stay hungry and need to keep the desire to go and want more."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be sidelined for the rest of Liverpool's pre-season preparations by a knee injury.

England midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain sustained the problem in a challenge during Liverpool's training camp in Austria.

The 27-year-old has returned to the Premier League champions' Melwood training base to commence his rehabilitation.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp believes the injury is of a similar nature to the one suffered by Jordan Henderson last month, which ruled the captain out of the final four matches of their triumphant domestic campaign but did not require surgery.

"Really unfortunate. An unfortunate situation as well; it was a challenge [in training]," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"It looks like it is very similar to what Hendo had, which keeps him out for we don’t know for sure exactly how long, but for sure this pre-season he will not make a game."

Liverpool face Arsenal at Wembley in the Community Shield next Sunday before hosting newly-promoted Leeds Untied to begin their title defence.

"Arsenal for sure not and then we will see," Klopp added, when discussing Oxlade-Chamberlain's recovery prospects. "The next game is probably two weeks later, but I don't know.

"We have to wait but it is far away from being perfect, of course. It is really hard for him and hard for us, but it is not to change."

Oxlade-Chamberlain made 43 appearances in all competitions last season after missing almost all of the 2018-19 campaign due to a serious knee injury.

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