The crush of the holiday fixture list continues as Liverpool get set to travel to Burnley on Boxing day. For manager Jürgen Klopp, he will be forced to face the relegation-threatened side without the services of his top two left backs after Kostas Tsimikas was forced off against Arsenal on Saturday with a broken collarbone.
For the time being, Klopp is left with only Joe Gomez of his senior team that even remotely resembles of left back. With a short turnaround between Arsenal and Burnley, including the Christmas holiday, there is precious little time to get any of the Academy players up to speed. With four matches between now and the January 10 EFL Cup semifinal, Klopp will face some difficult lineup decisions.
Can Joey play all the games coming up now until – I don’t know when – Robbo will be back? Kosti is now definitely out for a while, so I don’t know, we have to see. I didn’t have time now to think it through, but somebody will play the position I am pretty sure. It is for us obviously really tough, it’s really tough. You have injuries sometimes and we accept all of them, but a broken collarbone is really bad because it just takes long. Same what Robbo had: a different injury but that takes long as well, how we all know. We all know we need luck in these moments to get through and now we will have Joey there and just have to make sure we put him in cotton wool and we have to make sure he is always ready for the games.
While the left back position is extremely thin at the moment, there is also a concern in the left attacking spot after Luis Diaz hobbled off with a knee injury against Arsenal. It does seem, however, that Diogo Jota may be close to a return to bolster the ranks, though the Burnley match may be too soon according to Klopp.
I don’t want to rule out anybody now. We will see. He didn’t train with the team yet and we have only one proper session, so it would be a surprise – but maybe I will be surprised and all fine. I don’t know. I saw him [on Friday]; he didn’t train with the team but the session I saw was really intense, but I didn’t ask yet who will be available. The medical department will tell me and then I will know more.
With an already thin squad even thinner, Liverpool will face a Burnley side coming off of a moral-boosting win over Fulham as they look to fight their way out of the relegation zone. Jürgen Klopp feels there is plenty of quality in the opponents, despite their place in the table, knows Liverpool will need to be prepared.
I don’t need the Fulham result to understand Burnley’s quality. I think Burnley could have easily had much more points because they had so many good spells in the games where they then don’t finish these situations off. Young players in some positions. In the moment they finish these situations off, they can win football games, definitely. It was very often that they were really good in the game and I respect Vinny [Kompany] a lot for [the fact that] he keeps pushing his idea through.
I knew before that they are much better than the position and the points they have. I have watched quite a few Burnley games and I am pretty impressed by what they are doing – and on Saturday they got then the reward. We all know if you win once and you have a chance to play in three days again then you will want to win again and that’s exactly what we expect – and a pretty good atmosphere as well. We better be, and will be, ready.