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Klopp: How Liverpool are coping without Salah, Mane and Keita

12:19 IST 23/01/2022
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita of Liverpool.
The Reds manager speaks on the absences of the three players who are in Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stated he was not in doubt the club will thrive in the absence of their key African players taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Reds are currently missing the services of Egypt forward Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita of Guinea.

Ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League visit to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park Stadium on Saturday, the former Borussia Dortmund manager was asked about the team recording three successive shutouts and finding improved solidity at a time when Keita, Mane, and Salah were not available.

Klopp replied as quoted by the club's official website: “It’s essential, the only way you can do it. When you lose key players for injuries or tournaments or whatever, the solution is not that you will be flying in the next game and you say, ‘OK, now we score five or six and you create chances like hell and all these kinds of things.

“Wherever they are on the pitch, whether they are strikers, midfielders or wherever, [when] you lose key players you have to adapt. In our case, it was 100 percent clear that we have to be solid, rock solid.

“It’s a clear agreement, maybe you don’t see it all the time, but ‘defending first’: we have to be organised, that is the basis for everything we do and at this moment I can see an outstanding commitment to our defending, that’s how it is.”

On whether he takes greater satisfaction from winning games without key players, Klopp said: “It’s not greater satisfaction, no. I know we can do it without them, do I want to do it always without them? Why [would I]?

“It’s just to react on these kinds of things, to stay in the game, to stay on top of the game for as long as possible, all these kinds of things. But we all do that with no time, it’s not that while they are still here we train like they are not here anymore, that makes no sense.

“So when they are gone you have three days until the next game: ‘Now, let’s have a look.’ That’s the situation so that makes it really tricky. I don’t get more satisfaction, it’s as good as it is when they are here and we win football games.

“I was never in doubt that it is possible but I knew always that it’s difficult because players of their quality, you don’t replace like this [easily], it’s just not the case. I am looking forward to when they are back but I like as well the response of the squad at the moment, that’s true.”

The trio’s last game for Liverpool came in the 2-2 draw against Chelsea and they have gone ahead to miss the 4-1 FA Cup third-round win against Shrewsbury, and Liverpool’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal in the Carling Cup.

They also missed the return leg of the League Cup which saw Liverpool defeat the Gunners 2-0 at Emirates Stadium to reach the final and the 3-0 Premier League win against Brentford away.

Egypt, Senegal, and Guinea have qualified for the Round of 16.