Jürgen Klopp wary of threat posed by Jamie Vardy's 'risks and gambles'

Paul Wilson
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp has been asked about managing Germany before, but not too often after witnessing a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Spain. The Liverpool manager smiled when the subject came up, but his answer remained the same.

“In the future maybe I would consider giving international football a try, but at the moment, no,” he said. “I have a pretty intense job at Liverpool and I enjoy it even though I am responsible for a lot of things here. I am not looking for a new challenge.”

The challenge for Klopp on Sunday is to cope with Jamie Vardy and his high-flying Leicester side without most of his regular defence.

Related: 'I’m not a control freak': Klopp on pre-match routines, red cards and his dad

Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager and he has always held a high regard for Leicester, as they were runaway champions in his first season in England. He has seen at first hand how lethal a finisher Vardy can be, and does not believe the 33-year‑old has lost any of his sharpness.

“It is incredible how smart Vardy still is, how he uses his speed and anticipation,” Klopp said. “His technical level is really good too, he takes risks and gambles in a good way. He’s a proper, proper player.”

Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and possibly Fabinho will be missing at Anfield when Leicester attempt to keep up their perfect away record this season, with Klopp still worrying that more players will pick up injuries in this intense period of the season unless the Premier League reverts to allowing five substitutes.

He does not imagine an extra couple of replacements would completely solve the problem of over-playing the same players, but he cannot understand why a rule initially brought in to alleviate a difficult situation has been ditched.

“There was a meeting of managers during the international break and I can tell you that had a vote been allowed it would have been 15-5 in favour of five substitutes,” he said. “But managers aren’t allowed to vote, so nothing could be changed.

“It’s frustrating, but we are just going to get on with it. We are not looking for excuses. At this club we have a lot of information about the physical state of our players and we have some young players in reserve who I am confident will be able to step up when needed.

“I don’t know if it will be possible to do anything in January, but I am happy to use some of the boys we already have. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves at this club, we look for solutions.”

Mo Salah will have to sit out the game as he is self-isolating after a positive Covid-19 test, something Klopp preferred not to talk about in any detail. There is also a fitness doubt over Jordan Henderson, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcântara are back in training, but are not expected to be ready for Sunday evening.