Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he has some tough decisions to make ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup meeting with Everton after the injury toll mounted for the Premier League leaders.
Midfielder Naby Keita became the latest player to be added to the injured list, having sustained a groin problem before Thursday’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United, which restored Liverpool’s 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
With defenders Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne, midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho and forward Rhian Brewster all out, Klopp finds himself down to just 12 senior outfield players, plus new signing Takumi Minamino and a number of youth team members for the Merseyside derby.
“I won’t tell Carlo Ancelotti my line-up, but I will do what I think is right to do,” said Klopp, who fielded a youth team in the League Cup quarter-final defeat at Aston Villa last month as his senior side were in Qatar winning the Club World Cup.
“Some things I can decide by myself, and some things the medical department will tell me.
“I don’t know what the line-up will be at the moment, but it will be the best possible for us at the moment.
“I’m pretty sure Carlo won’t make a lot of changes. He has started already really well and this is an opportunity for Everton to win at Anfield for the first time in a few years.”
Everton, who suffered their first defeat under new manager Ancelotti at the hands of Manchester City on Wednesday, have not beaten Liverpool at Anfield since 1999.
– Everton ‘opportunity’ –
Ancelotti, an FA Cup winner with Chelsea in 2010, on Friday urged his players to seize a “fantastic opportunity” in the third-round tie.
“It is a fantastic challenge but also a fantastic opportunity,” said the Italian, who is the only manager to get the better of Klopp this season.
“We are going to play against the best team in this moment, they are world champions so congratulations to them, but this is a fantastic challenge for us.”
Ancelotti guided Napoli to a 2-0 Champions League victory over Liverpool in September and took a point from a 1-1 draw at Anfield in November before he was sacked by the Italian club.
Asked the secret to beating Klopp, the 60-year-old offered a shrug and a smile. “Score more goals,” he said.
“Everyone knows how Liverpool play,” he added. “They are a fantastic team, fantastic on the counter-attack, fantastic in transition and in recovery of the ball and quick attacking. You have to do the perfect game to beat them.
“You cannot defend for 90 minutes and we do not want to defend for 90 minutes. We want to have the possibility to play our football.”