Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton will come too soon for Fabinho, Diogo Jota and James Milner – but Naby Keita could make a long awaited return to Liverpool’s side.
The Reds have been fraught with injuries this season and, in recent weeks, a number of players have joined long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip in the treatment room.
In the absence of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson has been forced to fill in at centre-back, and that has put further pressure on Klopp’s midfielders – especially with Keita and Milner also on the sidelines.
Diogo Jota hasn’t been seen since December, but while Klopp is optimistic over the status of each of his injured stars, Keita is the only returning player he expects to have available at Anfield on Saturday.
On Keita specifically, Klopp told reporters (via Liverpool’s official website): “Naby trained yesterday with the team so we will have to see what we make of it. It’s just unlucky. He could have been in the squad against Leipzig but it didn’t make sense. So he stayed home and trained but he got ill and couldn’t train until yesterday.
“We don’t hold him back or force him in. It would be nice to have him.”
After confirming that Fabinho did not train on Friday, Klopp said: “Fab gets closer, Milner gets closer, Diogo gets closer, but not in time for the weekend.”
There has been speculation that keeper Alisson was set to miss out with injury but Klopp was quick to dismiss those reports. He also jumped at the chance to defend the Brazilian, who has come under fire for recent high-profile errors against Man City and Leicester.
He said: “Alisson is fine. My confidence in him, nothing has changed. We are all human and he showed that in the last two games [City and Leicester]. Not a problem. It’s work and he is doing that. He doesn’t get up and think he is a world-class goalkeeper. Ali is too smart to ignore the mistakes. Completely normal.”