Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane’s season may be over.
Mane is waiting for the results of a scan after suffering knee damage during the second half of Saturday’s 3-1 Premier League victory over Everton.
It means that Klopp will be without three key players for Wednesday’s home match against Bournemouth, as captain Jordan Henderson is still recovering from the foot injury that has caused him to miss the last five matches, while forward Adam Lallana is missing because of a thigh problem sustained on England duty late last month.
The manager is adamant, though, that the absence of Mane must not be used as an excuse as Liverpool attempt to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.
His team are third in the table after collecting 10 points from their last four matches, having returned to form after a lull during January and February.
Asked if Mane’s season was over, Klopp said: “Unfortunately, that’s possible, but I can’t say it now, so why should I? I don’t know.
“It’s possible when the knee is swollen and you have to wait for the final assessment. That’s it.
“My job is to find solutions, and I work on solutions all the time. That’s what I will do this time.”
Klopp has acknowledged that the former Southampton striker will be missed, but feels he has enough players to step up, with Divock Origi in contention after coming on as a substitute for Mane to score against Everton.
He added: “We don’t think what we miss, we only think what we can do to win this football game.
“As a manager I can’t really remember the last time I had all the players available and the decisions to make were really difficult.
“The only job to do is play the best you are able to and not think about who you miss.
“We have the possibility to change formation. I am not sure we can line-up similar to the last game but we have different options.
“There are a lot of different things but do we miss Sadio? Yes. Do we miss Adam? Yes. Do we miss Hendo? Yes. But they are not for this game because they are not here.
“We have 59 points, we are in a nice position. Yes, a few teams have games in hand, but they cannot win them all, that’s for sure, because a few of them play against each other.
“I really want to use this position. The whole season is to prepare for the finish. We have eight games to go. Nobody asks for your problems. Everybody only wants results. We feel the same. We want the same. We expect results from ourselves. We want to fight for everything.
“As long as we still have 11 players to start and a few to bring on, everything is fine.”
Liverpool struggled badly while Mane was at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal in January, being knocked out of both domestic cup competitions and failing to win a league match in his absence.
Klopp said: “The big problem was in January was not only Sadio missing – everyone would miss Sadio. Southampton probably still miss him, Red Bull Salzburg miss him.
“It was such a hard moment in January. We had all these games, it was not the freshest moment of the season.”