Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool cannot use injuries as an excuse for not finishing in the top four this season and securing a Champions League place.
Liverpool were title contenders until Sadio Mane’s absence during the Africa Cup of Nations triggered a downfall in form at the turn of the year, which saw the side win only one Premier League game in the first seven of 2017 – losing three in total.
They also crashed out of the FA Cup and the EFL Cup as Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino all suffered injuries at varying times.
But Klopp said he does not think about those players he is unable to use and is only focusing on those available to him in the next game, against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
“I don’t think about it, actually,” said the German. “That’s how it is.
“I come in or sit at home and get an e-mail or whatever with all the information here, or face to face, whether a player’s out or not. At this moment, I don’t think about the player anymore because I cannot use him.
“It’s not that I don’t think about him, but not for the next game, or the next session, or whatever. My job is to use all the resources, all the players that we have. That’s what I said from the first day. It makes it not easy in a lot of situations.
“I think we all agree that if we could have played our first 12 or 13 for the whole season, we are only six, seven, eight points away from the very interesting region of the table. It’s not unlikely that it could have worked, but it’s not important now because we don’t know for sure. It’s not allowed to look back. We have to find a line-up solution for the next game.”
The Reds currently have nine players in the treatment room, with Mane out for the season and Joel Matip and Adam Lallana still not ready for first-team action. The medical staff haven’t put a return date on captain Henderson’s recurring foot injury.
At the start of the season, it was predicted that Liverpool would struggle with injuries due not only to the squad size, but also the intensity of Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ style of football.
But Klopp insists that hasn’t been the reason for the injuries, and pointed out they are more because of individual circumstances.
“We have had injuries because of different reasons,” he added. “The problem I cannot say exactly.
“Look at the injuries we’ve had - not a lot of muscle injuries which is always a sign of intensity. It’s not the moment in the season where we are having the hardest training or whatever, so it’s all about individual situations.
“We have managed with Roberto Firmino the last few weeks, kept him out of a few sessions, so it’s not that. If it happens in the game, it is different. Lucas got a knock, not serious, played until the end, a few problems, similar with Joel. Even he didn’t say anything.
“That’s the situation. Adam, Daniel and so on, lots of different things. A lot of problems, Ragnar contact in training, a little bit knee, not long, but out. Sadio long term injury, you saw what happened - it’s not about day to day, it’s just...the best word is unlucky.”