Liverpool travels to Chelsea for a crunch Premier League clash but Jurgen Klopp has been hit with a blow hours before the match with Virgil van Dijk ruled out.
Liverpool travels to Stamford Bridge for their Premier League showdown desperate to bounce back from their miserable 4-1 defeat at Man City last weekend. Unfortunately, the Reds have suffered a huge setback. Virgil van Dijk is unable to play part in the clash because of an illness.
Liverpool confirmed the absence of their defender an hour before kick-off in West London. This has forced Klopp to make six changes to his starting XI against managerless Chelsea. Another surprise absence was that of Mo Salah who started on the bench while Konstantinos Tsimikas got the nod ahead of Andy Robertson at left-back.
Much of the focus before the game was on Liverpool and how they would bounce back from their woeful performance. Indeed, Klopp has demanded to see improvements on the pitch from his players.
Saturday’s poor 4-1 defeat to Man City has prompted yet another post-mortem for a side that has gone through a series of setbacks in a season. This has seen them go from title challengers to long shots for Champions League place. And now, eight points adrfit of fourth placed Manchester United.
Van Dijk said in the wake of the defeat there would be a need for some “hard talking” behind the scenes. However, Klopp said there was only so much good that talking could do.
He said, “over the period, we’ve had so many meething. If you win you have a short talk saying what was good and what we have to keep doing. And when things are not going well, you cannot just get over it like this. You have so many meetings”.
“It’s not about talking anymore. It’s about delivering. It’s about doing. That is the message. We spoke over the season about everything 100%. You cannot close your eyes and hope it will get better. But it’s for us to deliver”.
“We have to talk but I dont think anybody there can explain the drop between the two halves. We conceded a goal and reacted in a very bad way. Then conceded the next one and the whole game is gone”.
“This meeting would have been about what happened and not what has to happen. Obviously, we are now already preparing for Chelsea. What is much more important is what we need to do. We are talking about Chelsea because on the training pitch we cannot do an awful lot”.
Not for the first time this season, Klopp has been left discussing the need to get back to basics as poor defending made it too easy for City.
“In the second half at City we were much too open,” Klopp added. “We faced a team who even when you are really compact they can find a way through the lines with (Ilkay) Gundogan, (Kevin) De Bruyne and Rodri”.
“Even the centre-halves, (John) Stones, are really calm on the ball waiting until it opens up to push it through. It is already difficult enough when you are compact. When you are not compact for them it is like a birthday party. The actual challenge is impossible because we are too far away”.
“We have had the conversation about a high line and people exposing us with passing behind. We could sit back completely but that is not us at all”.
“It’s basics. It’s not rocket science and it didn’t turn into rocket science overnight. It’s possible, it’s what we have to demand, it’s what we have to show, and it’s what we have to do.”