It is a testament to the impact Diogo Jota has had in the 17 matches he has played since signing for Liverpool that his absence due injury has already been felt acutely.
The Portuguese international has veritably flown out of the blocks after arriving late in the summer transfer window, scoring five goals in his first eight league games including winners against Sheffield United and West Ham as well as bagging a majestic Champions League hat trick against Atalanta.
Appearing primarily from the bench, the 23-year-old had been the one to provide the spark when needed this season up until he sustained a knee injury in a December 1-1 Champions League draw against Midtjylland.
“It will still take time, he is still wearing a brace, so that means he is still a few weeks away from team training,” Klopp said of Jota’s recovery.
“There is nothing really to say, it takes time. There was no surgery needed, which was good, but it was a proper injury.
“It is not a little knock or something; no, no, and it will still take time. There is no real timeframe there.”
Although the Reds have done well at times in Jota’s absence—knocking Tottenham from the league summit in a rousing 2-1 victory before banging seven past Crystal Palace—the reigning league champions have also dropped points against relegation strugglers Fulham, West Brom and Newcastle.
It has involved a barren run for the Reds feared attack that has seen them fail to score for the longest period under Klopp, leading to a mere two points gained in the Premier League of the last nine available.
A knock to Joël Matip has not helped, with the Cameroonian now the only senior specialist center back in the squad following long-term injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez. The oft-injured Matip has been out since pulling up injured in the West Brom match.
Originally projected to miss up to three weeks of action, the Reds boss instead revealed that the 29-year-old was recovering ahead of schedule and could even be fit for next week’s top of the table clash with rivals Manchester United.
“Yes, we will try working on that obviously,” the German continued regarding Matip’s recovery schedule. “Until the United game we still have nine days around about, so we try.
“He is in a good way but if it will be United or a few days later, I don’t know. After the United game we will obviously play every three days again, so I think that’s pretty sure, but for the United game, we will see.”
Neither player, however, will be available for selection for today’s Aston Villa clash, as the Reds expect to face a U23 squad following a coronavirus outbreak at the Villa training facility.