Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana, and Jordan Henderson are all certain to miss tomorrow’s match against Stoke City. Add in Philippe Coutinho, who hasn’t trained due to illness and at best might make the bench, and it’s a major selection headache for manager Jürgen Klopp.
“At this moment it is only how we can make a line-up against Stoke, and that is a real challenge,” was his response when asked how he plans to approach the situation and deal with Liverpool’s increasingly lengthy injury list. “It compromises our situation and makes life not easy.
“As long as we have 11, it’s not about thinking about the players you can't involve but the players you can involve. I can't remember the last time everyone was fit and at the highest level. That is our life, it is a fact. All my thoughts are only about the players I can involve.”
Pace, width, creativity. Liverpool are going to be without the players they’ve counted on most in attack this season along with Klopp’s first choice midfield anchor. In many ways it’s similar to the time over the winter when fixture congestion caught up to his thin squad.
That time, Klopp couldn’t find the answer and Liverpool went on their worst run of the season. Now, if it happens again, it would become very difficult to imagine them holding on to a place top four place and making it back into the Champions League for of next season.
“We have to only think about the things we can influence now,” added the Liverpool manager. “We learn from all the things we experience in the season. I don't think 65 points will be enough to go to Champions League so we need to collect a few more points.”
Hopefully, in the time since Liverpool last went through an injury-plagued stretch, Klopp and his coaches have managed to figure out a solution to the rather difficult question of how to replace four of the club’s best players. Champions League football will depend on it.