Sunday, March 7, 2021

Klopp loses Fabinho for Leicester trip but backs under-fire Alisson: ´Everybody knows how good he is

SoccerNews in English Premier League 12 Feb 2021

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Jurgen Klopp promised Alisson has the full support of Liverpool’s dressing room as he backed the goalkeeper to bounce back from his Manchester City nightmare.

The Reds boss also revealed that Fabinho has suffered an injury blow, ruling the midfielder turned stand-in centre-back out of Saturday’s trip to Leicester City.

In his tale of two Brazilians, Klopp said he had taken Alisson aside this week to check on the shot-stopper after his error-plagued performance in Sunday’s 4-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s men at Anfield.

Two poor clearances with his feet presented City with chances from which they ruthlessly capitalised, and now Liverpool are 10 points adrift in the Premier League title race, the champions’ hopes of a successful defence seemingly in tatters.

Klopp said: “We had of course a little talk. If it was about encouragement or what, I don’t know. It’s just a little talk.

“He was not happy that it happened, of course, but it’s very important in a moment like this to realise in a long career goalkeepers make mistakes.

“For a goalkeeper of the quality of Alisson Becker it’s pretty rare that he makes this kind of mistakes, and that he makes two of them in one game, that’s clear as well.

“But goalkeepers are used to making mistakes. It means they have to stay in a game. They concede a goal and they know earlier than maybe all the rest of the world – ‘I should have saved it’ – and have to deal with that always.

“He has just a few days in between the City game and this game and there was absolutely no real criticism from our side, from the boys, the players around him, because everybody knows how good he is.

“He is a very calm person and now the next game is coming up and he can play his normal level again, then everything will be fine.”

Klopp said Fabinho had a “little muscle issue” that rules him out of contention for the King Power Stadium clash with a Leicester side who sit three points above Liverpool in the table.

Ozan Kabak, on loan from Schalke, could be an option to replace Fabinho at centre-back, but Klopp would not be drawn on who would figure in his defence.

He said Liverpool must “fight through a situation like this because nobody will help you”, and pointed to the threats posed by Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes.

The German boss described fast-improving winger Barnes as “one of the biggest talents … an unbelievable player”.

Klopp must also know Vardy will relish facing a defence that has looked as vulnerable as Liverpool’s in recent times.

“Jamie’s obviously a proper challenge in this league, the way he plays and the way he gets set up by his mates,” Klopp said.

He said taming Vardy would require a collective effort.

“That’s a proper job to do, but you only can do it always with the whole team,” Klopp said.

“Jamie’s a world-class player for sure in a specific area of the pitch and with his speed that’s really tricky.”

What have Liverpool got to worry about?

In many senses, Klopp should be relishing this trip. Liverpool have won on their last three Premier League visits to Leicester, who this season have already lost five Premier League home games – one more than in the whole of the last campaign.

Leicester have plenty of incentive, however, not least wanting to avoid losing four consecutive home top-flight matches to a specific opponent since a run of five defeats between 1999 and 2003 against Manchester United.

Liverpool are in a worrying dip, and a trip to a top-four rival comes at a time when West Ham, Chelsea and even Everton are rivalling them for a spot in the Champions League places.

Klopp’s men will be seeking to avoid a third successive league defeat this month after losing at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City. They last lost three games in a row in the Premier League in November 2014, when current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge of the Reds.

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