Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury against Everton on the weekend, and tonight against Ajax in the Champions League Liverpool will play their first game without their star centre half.
They will also be without veteran Joël Matip, arguably their second best second half, which will mean Jürgen Klopp will be left to pair either a midfielder Fabinho or a youth centre half with the out of form Joe Gomez.
“No excuses for nothing,” was Klopp’s response when asked about his current centre half situation. “We know how strong Ajax is, we respect them a lot. Now we are here and play them. It’s a wonderful city, super team.
“That’s how the Champions League should be, apart from no supporters in the stadium. It’s nearly perfect and all the rest is normal football. So many things can happen and nowadays even more. Our job is to deal with it.”
In the past, this is a group that has been able to overcome adversity—and so Klopp insists he’s confident they can do so again. Even if it feels as though a lot of people, fairly or otherwise, are doubting them now.
“Why should I think that the boys cannot deal with the situation?” he added. “The number of questions you ask around the game, it’s obvious you all think we will struggle. It means we now have to prove you wrong.
“I’m only interested in the best for Liverpool and for my players. That’s what we try now and hopefully the results we have in the next few weeks will calm you all slightly down.”