Diogo Jota out for the derby, confirms Klopp, but is “getting closer” to return

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Jurgen Klopp told the reporters gathered for his pre-Everton presser that the trio of James Milner, Fabinho and Diogo Jota would not be ready for the Merseyside Derby.

The three injurees are “getting closer” to an eventual return, according to the German, though Fabinho’s struggles with a muscle issue continues to hold him back from involvement in training.

The combination of Ozan Kabak and skipper Jordan Henderson in the heart of defence was solid against RB Leipzig, after a baptism of fire for the Turk against Leicester City.

We at the EOTK would expect Klopp to retain the same backline he has favoured for the prior two fixtures, with the current pairing looking like the most reliable for the club until Fabinho fully recovers.

READ MORE: Klopp confirms Alisson is ‘fine’ after rumours of injury spread from training ground absence

As we approach the latter end of February, however, it’s looking increasingly likely that Jota will not feature again for Liverpool until March – an excruciating wait for a side that is in desperate need of some added attacking impetus.

Though our recent Champions League fixture has certainly highlighted that our forward line is still deadly as ever, it remains clear that we’re still short of some vital cogs (beyond the most glaringly obvious).

The return of our Portuguese and No.3 would have a transformative impact on the team, not only allowing for the potential of more goals up front, but also solidifying the defence and freeing up Henderson to slot back in his most influential role in midfield.

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