EPL

Jurgen Klopp denies swift returns have caused Liverpool injuries

By Sports Desk February 16, 2024

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rejected suggestions he has rushed back players in recent weeks after Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Dominik Szoboszlai all aggravated injuries early in their returns.

Alexander-Arnold will miss the Carabao Cup final later this month because a knee problem recurred in last week’s win over Burnley, Thiago’s comeback after nine months lasted just 10 minutes, while Szoboszlai played just over an hour over two matches before succumbing to the hamstring problem which forced him to miss most of January.

Mohamed Salah returned to training this week after a month out with a hamstring problem sustained on African Nations Cup duty with Egypt but Klopp is confident he is ready to play again.

“Mo is back in full training, that brings him automatically in contention of course,” said Klopp, who has just won his 10th manager of the month award, ahead of the lunchtime kick-off at Brentford.

“I have to clarify a bit: I was not really aware of it but I got the news that there was a discussion we might have forced Trent back. He had two setbacks and it is really unfortunate, no one wants that.

“I am here we never forced anyone back and never will do. But we work in a high-performance area and if you have the same injury you are fit after three days and another guy after four weeks.

“We always try to catch the earliest moment but when we catch that moment no one speaks about it, like with Macca (Alexis Mac Allister) recently and with Diogo (Jota). That’s a job we have to do.

“The last decision is always by the player but if you only listen to the player the player would play after two weeks and then it is a real problem.

“The boys were, in the moment when they played, fit but the (match) situation told us then differently because it happened again.

“We can never know if it would have happened anyway or whether it was something before. Very unlucky and unfortunate.

“It is not great but it says nothing about the quality of anyone. The world we are living in it is always immediately ‘Medical department? I’m not sure about that’ but it is nothing to do with that.

“We have to bring the boys as back as soon as possible but never sooner than they are ready from our point of view.”

Klopp said the injuries to Alexander-Arnold and Szoboszlai were “serious”, with only the latter having a chance of making the cup final a week on Sunday.

“It is a super-intense period. People think now about the final but before the final we have Brentford and Luton and I didn’t think a second about the final yet,” he said.

“It’s not ‘Oh, he can’t play the final’. That’s one game but before that we have two games which is as bad as they cannot play.

“I think with Dominik it will be around that time and Trent maybe a week or two longer. I am not sure Dom has a chance for the final but maybe, and Trent will probably be after.”

In addition to Salah’s return, Klopp has Ibrahima Konate back from suspension, Joe Gomez and goalkeeper Alisson Becker are fit again and Conor Bradley has returned from compassionate leave following the death of his father.

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