Jürgen Klopp has recognized that this season’s title race is too close to call and is expected to remain competitive until the very end.
“This season is tough for the fans,” Liverpool’s manager said as he prepared to lead his defending champions on Monday night to Southampton. You’ll love it if you’re a neutral. Our season has been decent so far, but I’m not shocked it’s so tight. This year is rough.
I’m pretty sure until the very end, it’s going to be exciting.
It’s hard for all of us [challenging teams], because it’s so close to us.
Ahead of the Southampton match, Liverpool leads Manchester United on goal difference, and a number of clubs are within striking distance of the top.
Thiago Alcântara, who came off the bench in the 0-0 draw at Newcastle last Wednesday and put in a promising display, could impact Liverpool’s fortunes for the better by being against Southampton in the starting eleven.
Since arriving from Bayern Munich, the Spanish inventive midfielder has made only three Premier League appearances for Liverpool, with a positive Covid 19 test and subsequent knee injury restricting his availability.
Klopp remained understandably skeptical about the possible position of the midfielder at Southampton. “Unfortunately, for so long, I have not known Thiago.”
A couple of months only. For us [at Newcastle], he played 20 minutes, which was unique and it was about making something, which is his best talent. He has only had two training sessions [since his injury]with the team.
We’ll see, he played against Newcastle for 20 minutes and I don’t know how he’s going to react. We’ll see. He’s got a chance. The guys who have done the midfield job so far [in his absence]have done it incredibly well, so if Thiago doesn’t start in the next game, it’s not like we can’t survive.
But it’s really positive that now he’s fit and clearly qualified.
I very much like that.
Klopp has few choices in central defense, with Virgil van Dijk likely to miss most, if not all, of the second half of the season after undergoing anterior cruciate ligament surgery in October, Joe Gomez likely to be out until late spring due to the after-effects of another knee operation and Joël Matip expected to miss Liverpool’s next four games with groin problems.
He deployed the versatile but not ideally placed Fabinho and the inexperienced Nathaniel Phillips in central defense at Newcastle, but Klopp, who already has 19-year-old center back Rhys Williams in his squad, let it be known that in the current transfer window, he will not recruit a replacement, choosing to step up from within the ranks.
We have solutions within the squad, but I don’t know whether we can do something in the window,”We have solutions within the squad, but whether we can do something in the window I don’t know,” “It’s this way.
It’s a very tough transfer window. Not all clubs have real cash.
It doesn’t make sense to do so.
It makes sense to do the right thing.
So far, we enjoyed what we did very much. Right now, we’ve got three center backs.
At Newcastle, I liked Nat [Phillips]. He’s a smart boy and uses his skills to support us a lot.
After he tested positive for Covid-19, Southampton will be without goalkeeper Alex McCarthy for the Liverpool visit. The 31-year-old is in isolation from himself.