Jurgen Klopp conceded his side weren’t “good enough” in various situations but remained optimistic ahead of the second leg at the Emirates.
Here are three key points the boss made after the disappointing stalemate against Arsenal:‘We started how we wanted to start’
The manager was insistent that he liked what he saw from the early exchanges as Liverpool were “front footed,” “lively” and “direct in the right moments.”
“We started the game how we wanted to start,” Klopp explained.
But the red card for Granit Xhaka only saw Arsenal deploy a low block and “it looked like all of a sudden we felt under pressure. Which doesn’t make sense.”
As performances go it is one we will all wish to forget in a hurry, but it’s still only half-time in the tie.Life without Salah, Mane and Keita
And while Klopp agreed with the sentiment, he was steadfast in his belief that the team he lined up can get the job done.
“We know that already for years that it could happen. Could we have been better prepared for it? I don’t think so.
“What we had tonight was a football problem and this team which we lined up tonight can sort that football problem. Definitely.”Half-time, but now for Brentford
While the tie is precariously placed ahead of the trip to the Emirates in a week’s time, Liverpool first have the task of overcoming Brentford.
They will head to Anfield in less than three days’ time and Klopp’s “mind is already on Brentford on Sunday.”
Klopp knows “we can play better and we know we have to play better, and that’s what we will work on.”
Time to get to it!
Jürgen Klopp acknowledged that Liverpool did not do enough to beat Arsenal after the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg finished goalless at Anfield, but the boss is optimistic his team can emerge victorious from next Thursday’s second leg.
The Reds were thwarted by a stubborn Gunners defence after the visitors had been reduced to 10 men after 24 minutes when Granit Xhaka was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Diogo Jota.
The hosts dominated possession but were unable to find a way through their opponents, meaning the sides will contest the second leg at Emirates Stadium in one week’s time with the tie finely poised.
Read on to see what Klopp had to tell reporters in his post-match press conference.
On the result and Liverpool’s performance…
First and foremost, I don’t think even you saw this for the first time in the history of football – things like this happen. Our situation - and I said it before and it’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation -[meant] for obvious reasons we had to change the line-up tonight. I really liked the way we started in the game, I saw absolutely everything we wanted to see in the beginning. Front-footed, lively, direct in the right moments, we switched it in the right moments. We started in the game like we wanted to start and then there was the red card and then we play against a low block. Against a low block with the most finely-tuned team is difficult and obviously we are not – then on top of that, we made a few wrong decisions, we felt too much rushed, it looked like all of sudden we felt under pressure, which doesn’t make sense but it looked for me a little bit like that. It is a typical situation.
You go forward to win something tonight and in a second you turn into a situation where you can lose something. That’s what I saw in the first half, then we tried to change a couple of things in the second half. We wanted to change the way they had to defend us, especially Curtis now – a dribbler on the wing, he is really active there and tries to give them some different problems than before. I thought it worked out quite well, then we tried to do the same thing on the right side with Neco, which was not bad as well, but we couldn’t create enough, of course not, for the situation we were in with playing against 10 men for I don’t know how long. That’s clear, but, again, this is a cup competition, it is a two-leg semi-final, it is half-time, it is 0-0 and even when probably Arsenal feels in a better position at the moment we don’t feel this tie is over for us so we will give it another proper try next Thursday.
On how he thinks the second leg will pan out…
I have no idea what Arsenal will do when we face them, we will see that. It is not in my mind in the moment – my mind is already Brentford, so from Monday on you can ask me these thing of things about what we will do there. As I said, we know we can play better and we know we have to play better and that’s what we will do, what we will work on, that’s clear. A lot of things I liked, but the general outcome was not good enough, that’s the truth of this game and we have to accept this for the moment and from here we go.
On whether Liverpool ‘tried too hard’ to win the game after Xhaka’s dismissal…
Yes, in moments, yes. After the red card, yes. As I said, it looked like we felt under pressure, that makes no sense but it’s human, that’s how we are. You go out there and you go for winning something special and then all of a sudden it feels like from now on, from this moment on, you only can lose. Again, it is difficult but if we have then a well-settled formation, fine-tuned patterns and all these kind of things [then] it’s still difficult but it’s a bit easier and tonight, on top of that, with a pretty new line-up we had to face that. That’s the situation. We were not creative enough, definitely. We did a lot of things not good enough. But again, in the end it’s 0-0, half-time. Let’s go.
On whether it is a ‘tough blow’ to potentially be without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for the whole of January…
Tell me one team who wouldn’t miss Sadio Mane and Mo Salah and Naby Keita! Of course we miss them. We have known that already for years that it could happen. So, could we have been better prepared for it? I don’t think so because all the things we did in the past were because we had the team we had, so that’s the situation. What I don’t like too much is when journalists ask me questions about what our fans worry about, I don’t understand it. Are you that close with our supporters that you can ask these questions [and] worry about contract situations and stuff like this? That has nothing to do with the game tonight, absolutely nothing. Tonight we had a football problem and this team which we lined up tonight can play or sort that football problem, definitely. But we should not ignore there is an opponent as well fighting for something and it was a very passionate performance from Arsenal tonight. That’s why it was a 0-0, we accept that. But from here we go.
The Reds were without eight first-team players due to positive Covid tests at the weekend, with a mix of youth and experience earning a 4-1 win over Shrewsbury in the FA Cup.
It backfired on Klopp, with Alexander-Arnold among those to particularly struggle – failing to create a chance and recording the third-lowest passing accuracy of any starter – against a 10-man Arsenal side.
And speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the manager blamed the hangover from Covid – for most players, asymptomatic – for Liverpool’s sluggish display.
“It’s strange. Even without symptoms, the boys, when they come back it’s not exactly the same,” he claimed.
“I don’t think there’s an explanation for that in the moment, but we have to consider that as well.
“Joel only came back recently, Trent three days ago. So that’s clear.”
While there is certainly cause to believe that seven days in isolation – and away from training – will have an impact on a player’s performance, it is not a valid excuse on this occasion.
Given Alexander-Arnold was the only player to return a true positive during Liverpool’s ‘outbreak’ last week – and had only been back in training for two days prior – it was surprising that he was picked to start.
Neco Williams came off the bench and produced an energetic cameo, in a competition that has seen many of his best performances for the club to date.
The Welshman could have started ahead of Alexander-Arnold if there were any concerns, as could Ibrahima Konate in place of Matip – though the No. 32 was one of Klopp’s brightest players throughout.
Klopp is often criticised by rival supporters for his comments after games, with many pointing out ‘moans’ and ‘excuses’, and typically these are wide of the mark.
This time, however, it seems bizarre to blame that performance on a Covid hangover, particularly given the players in reserve.
The release of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad ahead of kickoff in the Anfield semi-final saw surprise at the strength of his selection, but also the makeup of his midfield.
Despite both Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being available, the manager opted for a 36-year-old James Milner alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho – a trio proven to stifle Liverpool’s creativity.
Against an Arsenal side down to 10 men, the lack of creativity in that unit was felt heavily, with the Reds way too slow and predictable against a deep-sitting defence.
The introduction of Jones for Milner on the hour mark gave the hosts a spark, with the 20-year-old firing his side’s only shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.
Watching on, Liverpool fans picked up on his impact – with many praising the No. 17 on social media.After a bright half-hour display, Jones was lauded…
— Avy (@BlueChipLFC) January 13, 2022
Encouraging cameo from Curtis Jones. Should start while Thiago, Naby and Elliott are out. He injected a lot more quality in midfield.
Game was much more open 11 vs 11 but we should have won that comfortably. Missed out on a great opportunity to put the tie to bed. #LFC
— GerrardKennyKloppo (@SGKennyKloppo) January 13, 2022
This game needed Curtis Jones much earlier
— Arákùnrin Mutiny????? (@Mutineer8961) January 13, 2022
Curtis Jones our best player within about 2 minutes.
— Erin Mc Asterisk (@ErinNYC75) January 13, 2022
The Curtis Jones cameo pic.twitter.com/TAQEDooNqJ
— ? (@6lXXGOD) January 13, 2022
Curtis Jones is a proper 10. Love him.
— Umir (@umirf1) January 13, 2022
Curtis Jones the only bright spark. No pace up top in system that requires pace. Say what you want but Fans are right to demand squad investment
— *KopTalk1892 (@KopTalk1892) January 13, 2022
Curtis Jones should have started. Milner should now be winding down and being limited to cameos
— Shane (@Blame_Suarez) January 13, 2022
curtis jones has been brilliant since he came on, mental how he isn’t starting
— Jay Llewellyn (@JayLleweIIyn) January 13, 2022
Curtis Jones should have started.
— ??????? ?????? (@AnfieldEffect) January 13, 2022His fellow academy graduate, Neco Williams, also got praise…
Thought Curtis Jones and Neco Williams both tried to be positive with attacking movements when they came on.
— keith costigan (@KeithCostigan) January 13, 2022
Liverpool’s best players tonight, aside from Joel Matip, were two of substitutes.
— Louis Dangoor (@TheLouisDangoor) January 13, 2022
Don’t want to see anyone complaining about Neco Williams & Curtis Jones after this cameo.
Both changed the dynamic of the game.
— ??????? ?????? (@AnfieldEffect) January 13, 2022
How did Curtis Jones and Neco Williams carry that second half
— Ja_____ck?????? (@Ja__________ck) January 13, 2022
Curtis Jones and Neco Williams were the only two players with a bit of balls to try and make things happen.
— Anton Clarke (@AntonClarke1) January 13, 2022
Frustrating overall, Neco Williams and Curtis Jones were brilliant though, not the end of the world, all to play for next week up the reds
— Patrick Newton (@patrick44newton) January 13, 2022
It is telling that Liverpool needed the thrust of two 20-year-old squad players to give them the impetus against 10 men, with Klopp’s tried-and-trusted lineup falling flat.
Having ripped up his League Cup blueprint by naming his strongest possible side – on paper, at least – there is a sense that those who dragged the Reds to this semi-final stage should have been rewarded instead.
For Jones, there could even be bigger things on the horizon, beginning with a start against Brentford on Sunday.
Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Arsenal in Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.
It proved to be a frustrating evening for the Reds, who were unable to make the breakthrough despite dominating possession after Granit Xhaka was sent off for fouling Diogo Jota midway through the first half.
Takumi Minamino missed the hosts' best chance of the evening in the final minute as he blazed over at the Kop end.
Indeed, Jürgen Klopp’s team were indebted to Alisson Becker for ensuring they go into next week’s second leg at Emirates Stadium level after the Brazilian made a brilliant second-half save to deny Bukayo Saka.
Klopp made eight changes to his line-up, with only Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Fabinho retaining their places from Sunday’s win over Shrewsbury Town.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson - making his Carabao Cup debut - were among those to return to the starting XI.
A textbook example of high pressing from Jordan Henderson, who sprung from midfield to close down Aaron Ramsdale, won Liverpool a corner and ignited the first real spell of pressure on the Arsenal goal.
Minamino - stationed on the left of the Reds’ front three - produced an inviting low cross that appeared certain to be converted by Roberto Firmino, only for the stretching Ben White to make a crucial last-ditch intervention.
Kieran Tierney then blocked a shot from Alexander-Arnold as the hosts threatened to move through the gears, and their cause was aided further when Xhaka was dismissed in the 24th minute.
A raking long pass by Robertson sought and found Jota, who was duly felled by the Gunners midfielder’s high challenge as he looked set to bear down on Ramsdale.
The expected siege on Arsenal’s goal never materialised, however, with Klopp’s team having a near-monopoly of the ball but without troubling Ramsdale.
Alert defending from Joel Matip thwarted Saka in the opening minutes of the second period, with Liverpool then enjoying a sustained spell of being camped deep in Arsenal territory.
Again, though, chances were few and far between.
An inventive piece of play from Curtis Jones, on in place of James Milner, found Robertson, who in turn slipped in Minamino. But the angle was too tight for the No.18, whose shot went wide – and with that the pressure dissipated.
And it was Arsenal who nearly took the lead when Tierney’s pass reached Saka on Van Dijk’s blindside, but Alisson had sensed the danger and sped out from his line to make an excellent, sprawling save.
Klopp looked to provide impetus by making a triple substitution, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez and Neco Williams came off the bench.
A winning goal could have arrived late on, but Minamino cleared the crossbar with Ramsdale out of his goal and the tie remains finely poised ahead of next Thursday’s second match in London.
Arsenal held Liverpool to a battling goalless draw despite Granit Xhaka's early red card in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
With the tie finally getting under way seven days after its original date, following last week's postponement, Xhaka managed to last just 24 minutes at Anfield before being sent off for a reckless last-man challenge on Diogo Jota.
But thanks to a brilliant defensive display, and a somewhat underwhelming Liverpool performance, Arsenal will have a real spring in their step ahead of the second leg at the Emirates Stadium in seven days.Xhaka red card 'a ridiculous challenge' Granit Xhaka receives a straight red card for a reckless last-man challenge on Diogo Jota and referee Michael Oliver has no option but to send the Arsenal midfielder off. Image: Granit Xhaka's Instagram apology after his red card against Liverpool
One long pass from Andy Robertson found the run of Jota, and as he tried to race into the box he was caught by Xhaka with a high boot to his chest. It was reckless, and Oliver had no choice but to send him off.Jamie Carragher says Granit Xhaka fully deserved to be sent off following his 'ridiculous' challenge on Diogo Jota in the Carabao Cup clash between Liverpool and Arsenal.
Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports Football:
"Xhaka did what Xhaka does. He makes an absolutely ridiculous challenge when Jota still has so much to do.
"The way he has taken him out and with the force he does it. There's no doubt it's a red card."Team news
Most inside Anfield would have expected an onslaught from the moment of Xhaka's dismissal. But without Mo Salah and Sadio Mane there was a worrying lack of incision in Liverpool's attacks. Opportunities created were few and far between, and Aaron Ramsdale was rarely tested in the Arsenal goal. Takumi Minamino and Roberto Firmino struggled to have much of an impact in their place.
One of the few clear chances after the red card probably fell to Arsenal on 72 minutes, as Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney combined before the latter found Bukayo Saka in the box, but he was denied by the quick thinking of Alisson - as he raced off his line to prevent him converting.
There was time for Liverpool to snatch the win on 90 minutes, but Minamino somehow conspired to blaze over the bar and into the Kop with the goal at his mercy.Klopp: We didn't do enough Jurgen Klopp admits his Liverpool side struggled in their 0-0 draw against Arsenal.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "For obvious reasons we had to change the line-up tonight. I really liked the way we started in the game. I saw absolutely everything I wanted to see in the beginning - we were front-footed in the right moments, and started the game like we wanted to start.
"Then after the red card we were playing against a low block, and against the most finely-tuned teams it's difficult. On top of that we made a few wrong decisions and looked rushed. It's a typical situation, you go to try and win something and in a second it can turn into a situation where you can lose.
"But we couldn't create enough for the situation we were in against 10 men. That's clear enough. But again this is a cup competition. It's a two-leg semi-final, it's half-time. At 0-0 Arsenal might be in a slightly better position, but we don't think this tie is over for us."Arteta: We showed fight Arsenal boss Mikael Arteta said Granit Xhaka's sending off made his tactics against Liverpool a lot more complicated.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "We certainly rebelled against the situation, which I expect from the players. I think they showed great fight, determination, attitude, brotherhood. You could see the emotion they were playing with. They never gave up.
"It's extremely difficult to do it in this ground against this opponent. Credit to the boys. It's just the first leg but to do what we've done today, I think they deserve a lot of credit for that.
"I don't know if [the sending off] inspired them but we certainly took the fight. I said to them before the game that you have to have a certain attitude to play in this ground. In difficult moments, you have to act, but you can't be overreacting because then it becomes really complicated. I think the boys did that extremely well in certain moments. We played the game that we had to play, which is not our game, but we managed to do it."Analysis: Carra surprised by Klopp's slow response
Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports Football:
"I was convinced Jurgen Klopp would make a change [at half-time] and I can't believe they came out with the same XI. Not that anything wasn't working in the first half but Arsenal are down to 10 men and you've got a very workmanlike midfield. The first substitution was for James Milner on the hour. It had to be made at half-time.
"It's probably the only thing I can question Jurgen Klopp about at times. Does he make substitutions early enough? And I just think when that sending off happens there's a good 15 or 20 minutes before half-time to speak to your assistant - 'how are we going to go about this in the second half?' There's a chance to get your team in and make that change, be more on the front foot and give the instructions to the players. But Liverpool still didn't do enough in that last half an hour with the extra attacking players on. I just thought it was really strange they didn't make that change."Analysis: Arsenal comfortable but deserve credit Paul Merson and Jamie Carragher admit that Liverpool are not the same side without attacking duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Paul Merson on Sky Sports Football:
"There is so much credit for Arsenal coming out of this game, you have to say that. To play as long as they did with 10 men, and to restrict Liverpool to minimal chances, Arsenal were very comfortable. It was all about attitude.
"Liverpool made it easy for Arsenal, but credit where credit is due. I've been a critic of Arsenal's defence over the years and how they can capitulate in certain games, but today they stood up, every single one of them.
"Arteta got them in at half-time, set them up, and they all worked. Everybody had to put a shift in and they all worked their socks off. The players and manager should be proud."Man of the Match: Ben White
"There's so much fight in this team and it showed today," White told Sky Sports. "We dug deep and got the result we needed.
"The boys did well today. It's hard enough to come here with 11 men, to get one sent off straight away is not good, but it was a superb performance. We were confident coming here and we'll give it our all in the next game."Carabao Cup schedule Thursday 20th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm
Ahead of next week's second leg both sides are back in Premier League action on Sunday. Liverpool host Brentford in a 2pm kick-off, while Arsenal head to Tottenham for a huge north London derby, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; Kick-off 4.30pm.
Caoimhin Kelleher has started the last two games due to the Brazilian’s absence after testing positive for Covid on December 30, taking his season tally to five.
“Caoimhin is the goalkeeper for this competition but there’s a chance Ali will play [on Thursday] just because of the situation we were in,” Klopp told reporters.
“I think he needs a game now, we will see how we decide but it is a good chance Ali will play just because of the situation because of Covid and when he was out.
“We all need to make sure the boys have as much rhythm as they can get and so there’s a good chance Ali will start tomorrow, but the competition actually is Caoimhin’s competition.”
But you can pen Kelleher’s name in for the second leg at the Emirates and subsequently the final at Wembley in February should the Reds reach the final two for the first time since 2016.
Jurgen Klopp and domestic cups have not gone together like two peas in the pod, but it’s not for a want of desire as Liverpool are “here to win trophies.”
Playing in two continents within 24 hours, prioritising winter breaks and making mass changes has not made for seamless pursuits of either cup, but that does not mean one can doubt Liverpool’s intentions.
But the German feels there is a “misunderstanding” about his team’s record in the cup, but there’s no doubting a second Wembley final under his tutelage is the goal.
“We want to go through, definitely,” Klopp said. “We actually always want it, there’s a complete misunderstanding [in domestic cups].
“I think we were another time in a semi-final, we lost if I’m right. But yes, we are here to win trophies and that’s a trophy.
“We are actually quite determined to get through this, but there’s quite a big hurdle between now and then – Arsenal in really good shape.
“It will not be easy, but we will give it a proper try.”
In a follow-up, Klopp was then asked about the legacy of his team and perhaps not having won as many trophies as they deserve and this being a chance to change that.
“Other people have to decide that [legacy with trophies], but I think what the boys did so far since we’ve worked here together is absolutely exceptional,” he added.
“We were close a couple of times, we were closer than close at least one time and we made it happen a couple of times as well. It’s football.
“We are far away from giving up [just now people saying with the league] as long as City and Pep work together with these players we will not try it? No, of course, we will try with all we have.
“That’s not a home run, a no brainer or whatever. It is a proper game as well. But we don’t have to think about these things.
“If anybody thinks we don’t want to win cups, I cannot help [them]. We actually really want and try, all the time. Constantly, every day.
“Let’s see what we can get this year, hopefully, something.”
It’s been a topsy-turvey couple of weeks for the Reds after positive Covid cases, false positives, three league games without a win followed by an FA Cup victory.
Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.1. How did Arsenal get here?
In that run, Mikel Arteta’s side scored 16 and conceded just one goal and that was against League One’s Sunderland in the last round.
While this is the first time Liverpool have appeared at this stage since 2016/17, Arsenal were last here in 2017/18 and would finish the competition as runners-up.2. Who is available for the hosts?
Arsenal had to bid farewell to a handful of players due to the Africa Cup of Nations, meaning Nicolas Pepe, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are not available.
Their absences coupled with Covid cases and injuries left Arteta to assess the situation as “extremely volatile and uncertain” so he will “use the players that we have and make the most out of it.”
Gabriel is expected back after his suspension but Granit Xhaka is expected to miss out due to Covid while there are doubts over Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu due to injury.
Had the game gone ahead one week ago, Arsenal could still have been left to play without seven of the abovementioned players.
Possible Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Smith Rowe, Lokonga, Odegaard; Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli3. Liverpool’s false positive situation
The original first leg was postponed as Liverpool had to close their training ground amid what was reported to be a “severe outbreak.”
It left up to 18 players unavailable for the scheduled trip to the Emirates, contributing to the game being pushed back.
“It doesn’t change anything for your quarantine but you need to know, you have to do a third test. In between, you cannot use the players – that’s how the rules are for all of us,” Klopp explained.4. Who is available for Liverpool?
Let’s start with who is not available.
There will be a few question marks as to how Klopp will approach this one, with the manager needing to weigh up if he will go full strength or reward those who got the Reds to this position.
There are quite a few options for the manager to play with, thankfully, and it could end up seeing Liverpool lineup like this.
It is a case of if at this stage as a ball has yet to be kicked in this tie, but the winner looks set to meet Chelsea in the final.
Thomas Tuchel’s side took a 2-0 first leg lead vs. Tottenham and placed one foot at Wembley, the home of the final on February 27, 2022.7. Four for Minamino?
After the release of another Mo Salah interview discussing his contract situation, Klopp was asked once more about the situation.
He had “very positive” words to say but nothing is done as of yet.
We know, I know, Mo wants to stay, we want Mo to stay. That’s the point where we are.
“These things take time, I cannot change that, sorry. But I think it’s all in a good place, nothing else to say.
“I’m very positive about it, but I don’t think it makes sense you speak on behalf of the fans because I’m pretty sure the fans are not as nervous as you are.
“They know the club pretty long and know the people here have been dealing with things for pretty long, so I think there are enough reasons to be positive.
“But as long as it’s not done, I cannot say anything about it. But [there are] good conversations. That’s all I can say.”9. Oliver, Oliver!
Michael Oliver is the man in the middle on Thursday night in what will be the third Liverpool game he has officiated so far this season.
Thankfully, Liverpool have never lost against Arsenal in the games Oliver has overseen (four wins, two draws).
And as little referee/VAR drama (Darren England) as possible will be great, thanks!10. A Sky Sports Listing
It’s time to tune back into Sky Sports Main Event/Football for those of you in the UK, with coverage starting at 7pm (GMT) ahead of the 7.45pm kickoff.
But if that doesn’t tickle your fancy and you’d prefer some biased Liverpool commentary then our This Is Anfield live blog is just the ticket, with Henry Jackson to be at the helm from 7pm!
The Reds were left to look “nearly everywhere” to put together a team to face Shrewsbury over the weekend after positive Covid results that were discovered to be false positives that kept players in isolation.
It forced the postponement of the original first leg at the Emirates as a total of 18 players were deemed unavailable, but a week on and Liverpool are in a more comfortable position.
The question now is how does Klopp manage his squad for this match as he also looks ahead to the next Premier League games less than three days later.
Here’s how the Reds could lineup at Anfield.Team News
There was a mixed update from the boss on Wednesday, with two players confirmed to be back in team training but two also remain sidelined:Liverpool’s XI vs. Arsenal
As abovementioned, the visit of Brentford less than 67 hours after the conclusion of this match could play into Klopp’s thinking.
But it could be a strong as possible XI to take the most out of being at home in the first leg and hope to create a strong foundation for the following week.
It could, therefore, see:
It would see the Reds shape up like this:
On the other hand, it could very well be a case of rewarding those who have helped put Liverpool in this position in the first place.
Those changes would then see Liverpool take to the field like this:
Kelleher; Williams, Gomez, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Minamino, Jota, Firmino
It’s an interesting conundrum for Klopp to have at this juncture of the competition and in light of what is to come, with a balancing act needed.
Either XI would not come as a surprise and Liverpool have shown they are capable of getting the job done one way or another, the objective now is to set up strong foundations for the second leg.
Here are five things from the manager as he previewed the game at Kirkby on Wednesday:Elliott edging closer
It’s been over four months since Harvey Elliott last played a competitive match but he’s making fast progress on return from his nasty ankle injury.
“Harvey Elliott looks really promising out on the pitch, did not train with the team yet but I do not think we are too far away from team training,” Klopp said.
“What he is doing at the moment looks really good.”
It’ll be good to have him back when the time comes!Who is available for Thursday?
There was mixed news from the boss regarding his options for the midweek game, but his options will be significantly boosted from what was available prior to Shrewsbury’s visit.
“Trent and Ali trained yesterday, Div and Thiago [did] not. That’s it pretty much…Robbo got a little knock in Shrewsbury game but looks fine,” Klopp confirmed.
The boss also noted that “the rest is available,” meaning a host of his senior players who were deemed unavailable for the FA Cup tie will be back in contention.“Very positive” on Salah’s new contract
The No. 11’s contract situation has yet to be resolved but both Salah and Klopp have spoken positively about their desire to extend the relationship with a new contract.
It’s taking some time, but Klopp remains “very positive” over the whole situation.
“We know, I know, Mo wants to stay, we want Mo to stay. That’s the point where we are,” he told reporters.
“These things take time, I cannot change that, sorry. But I think it’s all in a good place, nothing else to say.
“He’s a world-class player, unbelievable player, great boy, did a lot of great stuff for Liverpool and of course, we want to keep him. Now let’s see if it will work out, that’s all.”
Sign him up!An ‘exceptional‘ talent
Kaide Gordon became the second youngest goalscorer in Liverpool history over the weekend and the boss had nice words to say about the 17-year-old but remained coy on when further opportunities will face.
“Kaide is an exceptional talent. He had a little drop in form which is normal at this age.
“He played with the under-23s mostly and had good games and less good games, but he is here and as long as he is fit, he is in our mind.
“The Shrewsbury game obviously helped a lot. We’ll see [about when he gets another chance].”Home advantage makes a difference
Liverpool had been given the advantage of playing the second leg at Anfield in the original draw, but the postponement last week ensured the legs were flipped.
While it is something that was out of the Reds’ hands, Klopp did concede it makes a difference and is another nod to how wide of the mark those who claim Liverpool ‘cheated’ are.
“Of course, it makes a difference,” Klopp said of now playing home first. “If you win both games it makes no difference, obviously. But especially with the power Anfield can produce it’s a difference.
“We cannot change that. We couldn’t play last Thursday and that’s how it is and that’s why we have to take it like it is, no problem but, yes it’s a difference.”
Gordon, who only turned 17 in October, made his second senior start for the Reds in Sunday’s third-round clash at Anfield, scoring in a 4-1 victory.
The teenager impressed throughout his 80-minute display, becoming the club’s second-youngest ever goalscorer, along with their youngest in FA Cup history.
With Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at the Africa Cup of Nations and both Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott still sidelined through injury, there is a chance Gordon is given more minutes throughout January.
“Kaide is always in our mind, because he’s just an exceptional talent,” he said.
“He played an exceptional pre-season, but then had a little drop in form – which is completely normal in his age.
“Then [he] played with the U23s mostly, had good games there, less good games, all these kinds of things.
“But he’s an outstanding talent, so he’s here as long as he’s fit, he’s always in my mind and then we will see where that exactly leads.
“The game obviously helped him a lot, because he felt proper adult football, he’s capable of dealing with that.
“That’s a really important thing, getting all these kinds of experiences. So we’ll see.”
It has been a stop-start first full season for Gordon, who joined the Reds a year ago next month, with injury and COVID-19 limiting his outings.
But after an excellent pre-season and a series of standout displays for the under-23s and under-19s, his display in the FA Cup signalled another step up, as was the case with the likes of Tyler Morton and Conor Bradley.
Klopp reflected on that win, which saw nine academy graduates involved in total and seven start, as “very important” for the club.
“In this game, obviously in this specific game against Shrewsbury, we had no other options really,” he explained.
“Bobby was not able to start, Taki was not able to start, I think Kostas was the only other senior player on the bench maybe.
“So that was the team we had to line up.
“That’s all fine, that’s why we have the boys and that’s why we train them, why we try to educate them, why we try to give all the information we have about football.
“Not too much now, but step by step. That’s how football education works.
“Then you need, from time to time, these proper tests, so you really see ‘OK, I’m a step closer to where I want to be in the future’.
“So it was really, really good.
“We won the Shrewsbury game, I think, with five academy graduates, plus Caoimh in goal, six. It’s a really big one for us, really nice.
“It felt really, really good after the game because so many nice individual little stories were there out on the pitch.
“It was good for the boys and very important for us.”
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker have made a return to full training.
The pair were recently sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, but could now come into contention for Liverpool's Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg with Arsenal on Thursday.
However, Thiago Alcantara and Divock Origi will miss the Anfield tie as they remain ruled out through injury.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Klopp said: "Trent and Ali trained yesterday. Div and Thiago not. That’s it pretty much.
“Like always in these times, all players, apart from the injured ones or in Africa playing [the] Africa Cup of Nations, who test negative should be available.
“Harvey Elliott looks really promising, out on the pitch – didn't train with the team yet but I don’t think we are too far away from team training. What he's doing in the moment looks really good.
“Robbo got a little knock in the Shrewsbury game but is fine. I'm not sure if I forgot anybody but the rest are available.”