Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Klopp hits out at Carragher as Van Dijk injury fallout continues

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Jurgen Klopp has hit out at Jamie Carragher for suggesting Liverpool took a risk by going into the new campaign with just three senior centre-halves.

The Reds boss opted against bringing in another central defender after selling Dejan Lovren to Zenit over the summer, preferring to ask midfielder Fabinho to occasionally operate as back-up to Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Virgil van Dijk.

But, with the latter having sustained a serious knee injury during Saturday's trip to Everton, Klopp's options have already thinned significantly.

That situation led Liverpool great Carragher, now a television pundit, to declare that his former club must enter the January transfer market to strengthen an area he believes was left "weak", with RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano his pick.

However, Klopp has now angrily dismissed that assessment and remained tight-lipped over whether the Reds are planning any January moves.

Klopp said: "We went into the season with three centre-halves, Fabinho, and young kids.

"It’s difficult to have four world-class centre-halves. It’s not a position you rotate. If anyone wants to tell us we made a mistake, I think Jamie Carragher. There is a reason why they don’t do this job, they do the other job.

"It’s our situation. We will see how we react. We are still a little sensitive. We are in a completely different mood.

"We know since yesterday our vice-captain and the best centre-half in the world will not play for us for a long time. For the future, I have no idea."

Van Dijk's injury was the result of a poor challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, which was neither punished by the referee nor video assistant referee or indeed retrospectively.

Thiago Alcantara also ended up on the wrong end of a red-card tackle from Richarlison late in the same game, and Klopp was clearly still angered by both situations, expressing frustration that Liverpool have been the only ones left to "deal with the consequences".

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match at Ajax, which Thiago will also miss, Klopp said: "You judge us, you judge everybody. A couple of days ago something happened that should not have happened in a football game. And it’s not the first time. I see it similar to my players.

"Both challenges were difficult to accept. What we all can do is try to change these kind of things. I spoke the day after, it’s really hard for us, yes he’s a world-class player, injuries happen.

"In the last four years, we were the leader of the fair play table. People make a joke about it.

"In this game, a few things came together. I have to say, first, the ref didn’t see it. Michael Oliver, I don’t understand – he had the best view. VAR forgets the rules.

"As a human being, it’s not that I want a player to be punished, but it’s something we all agree on, you have to deal with the consequences. At the moment, only Virgil and Thiago have to deal with the consequences.

"You keep all these stories up, I’m here for a Champions League. But you asked these questions. We didn’t do anything wrong in the game, or since then, but our players are the ones that suffer and it doesn’t feel right.

"We all accept injuries can happen, but it should be in a normal challenge."

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