Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that two Liverpool players will miss Sunday’s Premier League clash against Aston Villa through injury.
Ibrahima Konate sat out last weekend’s win at Newcastle, while Thiago Alcantara has been sidelined since April due to a long-term hip problem, and neither will be fit in time for the visit of Unai Emery’s side to Anfield.
Speaking in Friday morning’s pre-match press conference (via Liverpool Echo), the manager said in relation to the France defender: “Ibou, no, he will not be ready for the game.”
Klopp also lamented the ongoing absence of the Spain midfielder, although Curtis Jones has returned to training ahead of Sunday’s fixture.
The German outlined: “Curtis is back in training fully. Thiago, not. Thiago had a little setback. He started training with the team and had a little setback so we have to slow down there a little bit.
“It’s not cool for him, it’s not cool for us but it’s how it is. Thiago will use the international break for that, to be up to speed I’m pretty sure. It should hopefully be enough. All the rest are available.”
If Ryan Gravenberch signs for Liverpool today and is registered in time to feature against Villa, that adds one midfield option to offset the continued absence of Thiago, whose return to action will be most welcome and add strong competition for places in the middle of the park.
However, Klopp can ill afford to be without Konate for the match on Sunday, particularly with Virgil van Dijk suspended after his red card at St James’ Park, leaving Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as the only two experienced centre-backs available.
That duo could have a job on their hands trying to handle a lively Villans attack featuring Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby, not to mention the threat of Jhon Duran off the bench.
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Liverpool fans will be praying that those two are back available for the trip to Wolves after the international break, and that there are no further casualties during the brief hiatus to the club season over the next fortnight.
Once the domestic action resumes in the middle of this month, the Reds will then face an intense calendar with most weeks seeing them have two matches, so Klopp will be desperate to keep injury problems to a minimum once the games come thick and fast.