Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down fears of a left-back crisis after Kostas Tsimikas joined Andy Robertson on the injured list.

The Greece international broke his collarbone in the 1-1 draw at home to Arsenal after a challenge from Bukayo Saka saw him collide with his manager in the technical area before falling heavily.

With Robertson, who has been out since October with a dislocated shoulder which required surgery, still a few weeks away from returning, it leaves utility man Joe Gomez, the central defender who has been filling in at right-back to give Trent Alexander-Arnold a break, as the only realistic option.

Even left winger Luis Diaz, who has occupied the role this season as more of an attacking option when Liverpool were chasing the game, is an injury doubt after sustaining a knee problem against the Gunners.

The 18-year-old Luke Chambers has made Europa League and Carabao Cup appearances this season, but is unlikely to be given the responsibility at Burnley on Boxing Day, at home to Newcastle or in the FA Cup away to Arsenal, but may have to provide some support.

“Can Joe play all the games now until I don’t know when? I don’t know, we’ll have to see,” said Klopp.

“Robbo will be back (next month) and Kostas will be definitely out for a long while. I didn’t have time to think it through yet, but it is really tough for us now.

“You have injuries sometimes and you have to accept all of them, but a broken collarbone is really bad because it takes so long to heal.

“Robbo had a different injury, but it takes a long time to recover as well. We all know we need luck in these moments and now we have to just make sure we put Joey in cotton wool and make sure he is ready for the game.”

The injuries to Tsimikas and Diaz adds to an already lengthy list which includes Robertson, Joel Matip (ACL), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Diogo Jota (hamstring), Alexis Mac Allister (knee) and Stefan Bajcetic (calf).

Even with the January Premier League break, Liverpool still have at least seven matches – eight if they progress in the FA Cup – in the next month with a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Fulham adding to the congestion at an already busy period.

But Klopp has increasingly fewer options to rotate and with Burnley buoyed by their win at Fulham, he knows he cannot afford to take their trip to Turf Moor lightly.

“I don’t need the Burnley result to understand their quality,” he added.

“Burnley could have easily had much more points because they had so many good spells in the games where they never saw the situation off, because of young players and some decisions.

“If they could finish these situations off they would definitely win more games. I respect Vinny (Vincent Kompany) a lot because he keeps pushing his idea through.

“I’m impressed with what they are doing and we know if you win once and are coming back to your home stadium you want to win again, and that is what we expect from them.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not planning to buy a centre-back to cover Joel Matip’s expected absence for the rest of the season but admits the nature of the Premier League means all clubs are “only two injuries away from a real problem”.

Matip’s anterior cruciate ligament injury means Klopp now has five senior players unavailable – Diogo Jota, Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic – with midfielder Alexis Mac Allister doubtful for the weekend trip to Crystal Palace after sustaining a problem in the midweek win over Sheffield United.

In central defence he has Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate – who has had two spells on the sidelines already this season – Joe Gomez and 20-year-old Jarell Quansah and he believes that will be enough to sustain them providing there are no further setbacks.

Klopp said rival clubs would not be leaving a top-class centre-back “under the Christmas tree for us” so he would likely manage with what he has.

“Everyone talks about us needing another player but they all cost money and they must be the right player,” said Klopp.

“You tell me a club who wants to sell a top centre-half. Not a centre-half but a top centre-half.

“For four or five days we’ve known Joel will be out for a long time and that’s really bad for us but we still have four centre-halves and that’s absolutely alright.

“If we had a fifth centre-half in beforehand it is a completely different team dynamic: when one is not involved, we don’t see steps with him, so it was like it was and it was perfect.

“Is it now perfect? I would say it is as long as we can go with those four, yes. If not then it would be a bit more tricky with the amount of games coming up.

“But it was never wonderland where you bring in a world-class centre-half until the other one is fit again.

“As long as other clubs don’t put them under the Christmas tree for us and say ‘Take it as long as you need it’ I don’t think so (it is likely to buy a player) to be honest.”

No timescale has been put on Matip’s return but with his contract due to expire in the summer, Klopp expects the club to look after the 32-year-old and offer a new deal.

“I would say so but it’s not my decision in the end,” he added.

“I am pretty sure the club will show their class and am pretty sure the club told Joel already that whatever happens as long as he is injured everything is fine.”

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s return to training ahead of schedule after a hamstring injury – he was not expected back until the visit of Manchester United next weekend – gives him a chance of playing at Selhurst Park and would be timely for a defence now missing 50 percent of its first-choice players with Robertson’s dislocated shoulder sidelining him since October.

With the changes which have taken place in the backline, the return to form of captain Van Dijk is even more important.

“It always was and always will be. Virg is the best defender in the world. Did he have lesser good spells? Yes. If you showed me one who never had I’d be really happy to meet him,” said Klopp.

“When we look in the back in the past (we think) Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, Sami Hyypia were good all the time and always perfect. No-one was and no-one will be. Virg in this shape is super-important.”

Scotland take on Georgia in their penultimate Euro 2024 qualifier in Tbilisi on Thursday night.

Steve Clarke’s side have already qualified for Germany after winning five of their first six Group A games.

Here are some of the key talking points ahead of the game at the Boris Paichadze Stadium.

Pots not prizes

Scotland are highly unlikely to top the group given they sit on 15 points with Spain, who are seven goals better off and finish with games against Cyprus and Georgia. An unfortunate slip from Aaron Hickey late on in Seville last month led to a second Spanish goal and wiped out Scotland’s head-to-head advantage. However, good results against Georgia and Norway will boost Scotland’s hopes of landing in the second pot of seeds for next month’s Euro 2024 draw as well as regaining momentum after three consecutive defeats.

Breaking the spell

Scotland have twice come unstuck in Tbilisi before – their Euro 2008 and Euro 2016 campaigns suffered fatal blows against Georgia. Having beaten France home and away, Alex McLeish’s side lost 2-0 against a side featuring three teenagers, including 17-year-old goalkeeper Giorgi Makaridze and 17-year-old goalscorer Levan Mchedlidze. Gordon Strachan was also on the end of a defeat in Tbilisi as the hosts frustrated Scotland in a 1-0 win. Despite being unbeaten against qualification rivals Poland and Republic of Ireland, Scotland missed out on a play-off.

A chance to shine

Scotland are without about half a team of likely starters – Angus Gunn, Kieran Tierney, Grant Hanley, Hickey, Andy Robertson and Che Adams are all absent. The game could give the likes of Nathan Patterson, Greg Taylor, Anthony Ralston, the uncapped Josh Doig and late call-up Lawrence Shankland the chance to impress.

Who is in goal?

Clarke gave nothing away on who would replace Gunn, who has only conceded three goals in six qualifiers. Motherwell captain Liam Kelly and Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark are looking for their competitive debuts after both won their first caps in last month’s 4-1 friendly defeat by France. Rangers number two Robby McCrorie replaced Gunn in the squad.

Motivated opponents

Georgia cannot finish in the top two but they can still go to Euro 2024 through the Nations League play-offs. Willy Sagnol’s side were the top ranked team in Group C after winning emphatically away to Bulgaria and North Macedonia, and will take their place in the play-off tournament in March.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke is focused on finishing their Euro 2024 qualification campaign on a high after sealing their place in Germany amid a hat-trick of defeats.

A 2-0 loss in Spain was sandwiched by friendly defeats against England and France, but five wins from their opening five games in Group A proved enough for a second successive qualification for the European Championship finals after the Spaniards won in Norway.

With a five-month international hiatus to follow, Clarke is eager to ensure Scotland come away from their final competitive matches with points against Georgia and Norway before next summer’s tournament in Germany.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s clash in Tbilisi, Clarke said: “The idea with the friendly matches against England and France was to test ourselves against the best and see where we measure up.

“Obviously with the results we had, we still have a bit of work to do. We will try to stay humble, respect our opponents and just try to improve all the time.

“Listen, we want to get back to winning ways. It’s not very often in the reign that I have had, apart from the early stages, that we have had consecutive defeats like we have had recently.

“It would be nice to think in the remaining two games we can pick up more points.

“I have always said we want to get as high a points tally as possible and (we have) two more games to try and do that.”

Scotland have lost their previous two games in Georgia, defeats which ultimately prevented them from qualifying for Euro 2008 and 2016.

Clarke’s side have shown the ability to break such negative runs, for instance securing the first play-off success and ending a 23-year wait for a major tournament appearance.

“Listen, in sport what’s past is past, there is nothing we can do to affect that,” Clarke said of the history in Tbilisi. “All we can do is affect the future, the next game we play.

“We have always tried to improve results no matter who we are playing against.”

Georgia lost 7-1 at home to Spain in September but they beat Cyprus 4-0 in their most recent qualifier and are assured of a Euro 2024 play-off place thanks to a Nations League campaign which included big wins in Bulgaria and North Macedonia.

Clarke said: “When you go away from home against a team like Georgia, it’s going to be a difficult environment, a difficult game for us, because they are a very good side.

“The one game they lost heavily was against Spain and that’s a little bit of an anomaly in recent games, because all their games have been very competitive. And we expect that on Thursday night.”

Clarke is without the likes of Angus Gunn, Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Aaron Hickey and Che Adams, but he hopes players such as Josh Doig and Lawrence Shankland can seize the opportunity that injury list presents.

“Over the course of my tenure I have always tried to look a little bit deeper,” he said.

“There will be some squads like this one where we have a number of players missing. But I always say it’s a chance for someone else.

“If everyone else can do better it makes my selection more difficult going into next year. The selection will be difficult. I have to find the right 23 for next summer.

“For now, some boys are in the squad with the chance to make a big impression, not just on me but the rest of my staff and the rest of the country. Let’s see how they perform in the game.”

Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark and Motherwell captain Liam Kelly are vying for competitive debuts after both played 45 minutes against France to win their first caps.

Clarke, who also has Rangers reserve Robby McCrorie in his squad, was not giving anything away on his stand-in choice.

Speaking from Scotland’s training camp in Antalya, Turkey, he said: “The three goalkeepers have trained very well, as they always do, and between now and kick-off I will obviously have to choose one.”

Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson is facing three months on the sidelines with manager Jurgen Klopp admitting the defender’s pending shoulder surgery will be “a big loss” for the club.

The Scotland captain sustained the problem on international duty against Spain but having been assessed on his return to Merseyside the club have decided an operation is the best solution – even if it means the 29-year-old faces a lengthy absence.

“There is a little chance we could try without but talking to pretty much all experts it looks like surgery will be the best thing, especially in the long term definitely, and that means he is out for a while,” said Klopp.

“You only see the real extent of injury when you have a look into it, like properly open (up the shoulder) and fix it – but my experience tells me around about three months.

“That is a shoulder (injury), usually not a lot of times you say it was earlier but Robbo is a quick healer, that is true.

“In this specific case we have to make sure the shoulder structure is stable, because the moment the boy starts all the normal contact stuff again the player has to be ready for that.

“I don’t exactly when, but next Wednesday (or whenever he has the operation) we will know more.

“In my experience you can train pretty quickly again but not football-specific because you have to be careful of challenges and all these kind of things so he will be out for a while. It is a big loss.”

Robertson has played every minute of all eight Premier League matches this season and has been ultra-reliable for Klopp, having missed just five matches in 275 appearances in more than six years for the club.

It means the Scot’s back-up Kostas Tsimikas, who has made 65 appearances in just over three seasons and many of those as a substitute, could make only his second appearance in a Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Other alternatives are the predominantly right-sided Joe Gomez, who has more experience, and 19-year-old Luke Chambers, whose only first team appearance was as an 89th-minute substitute in last month’s Carabao Cup win over Leicester.

On the significance of Tsimikas being ready, Klopp added: “It always was like this.

“Thank God it is not only Kostas we have for that because for the amount of games we have we would already be a bit short.

“But we have Joe Gomez who can play the position, Luke Chambers and other young boys who show up in training quite frequently.

“There is a lot of talent in there so you need options and that is clear. Kostas is definitely the most experienced in the position but he cannot play all the games from now on so we need other options as well and we have to make sure we make all of them.”

Klopp could also field a midfield with no derby experience – Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo all arrived in the summer – but the Reds boss does not believe that is a concern.

“It is a special game no doubt but a high pressure game and they all played them. Macca played the World Cup with Argentina, Dom played Serbia recently in a super-important, high-pressure game so they are all used to the kind of game,” he added.

“The exact game, not, but I cannot show them a movie of derbies and say that is how they should be. I don’t think we have to make it too big.”

Liverpool have lost just one of the last 18 matches against their closest rivals – the behind-closed-doors one at Anfield in the Covid era in February 2021 – but Klopp is not thinking about their record.

“It is rather uncomfortable if you tell me about my good record because it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“We try to make sure we don’t think about these things but make sure we are ready, we understand the importance of the game and can’t remember one moment when I said ‘weekend derby’ and enjoyed this thought.”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson is set for a long spell on the sidelines as he is to have surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Scotland captain sustained the problem on international duty but having been assessed on his return to Merseyside the club have decided an operation is the best solution.

“There is a little bit there, I think the decision is we go towards surgery,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“There is a little chance we could try without but talking to pretty much all experts it looks like surgery will be the best thing, especially in the long term definitely, and that means he is out for a while.

“I don’t know exactly how long but it is shoulder surgery so not exactly an easy one.

“In my experience you can train pretty quickly again but not football-specific because you have to be careful of challenges and all these kind of things so he will be out for a while.”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson is to have surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Scotland captain sustained the problem on international duty and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“It looks like surgery will be the best,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“That means he will be out for a while. Shoulder surgery is not an easy one.”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson insists the players have no concerns about “ultimate professional” Mohamed Salah’s immediate future as speculation of a potential world-record bid from Saudi Arabia continues.

Pro League champions Al-Ittihad last week had a £150million offer rejected by Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon, who now considers the matter closed.

However, that has not done anything to prevent suggestions they could return with a bid around the £200m mark for the 31-year-old, who is the world’s highest-profile Arab player.

Manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated the club’s stance after the 3-0 win over Aston Villa, in which Salah scored and had a hand in the other two goals, and Robertson said the squad were united in their belief there would be no departure before Thursday’s closure of the Saudi transfer window.

“For us we block that out, Mo blocks it out. We let other people talk about that,” he said.

“For us there is no concern. For us Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player and we believe that is what is going to be the case for the foreseeable future.

“He’s the ultimate professional. He does what it does, he is one of the best players in the world and he is professional.

“He lets other people do the talking, let’s other people say what they have to say, but he’s always been committed to Liverpool and you saw that with the performance he put in.

“The club’s position was that it knocked it back, it rejected the bid and that is what the stance was.

“For me Mo has been Mo all week. He’s not been affected; I’ve been around him a lot and he’s not been affected by anything.

“Mo has reacted in the best way possible and I think you have seen that with his performance, I think he was pretty special.”

At every media appearance over the last two weeks Klopp and the players have had to deal with questions about the future of Salah, who has two years left on a contract signed last summer which made him the highest-paid player in the club’s history.

But Robertson said it had not been destabilising or affected the squad’s focus as they made it 10 points from a possible 12 to head into the international break in third place in the Premier League.

“Look, there is speculation around a lot of players and it is how we deal with it and he (Salah) has obviously done well,” he added.

“Our squad is what it is and that’s the squad that is going to go forward now with the window shut.

“It is about getting the most out of the squad, it is about looking forward to the season ahead and trying to do better than what we did last season.”

After some criticism over recruitment following the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, coincidentally to Saudi Pro League clubs, Liverpool’s squad looks refreshed and re-energised.

World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, both signed before the start of pre-season, are starting to look like the long-term future of midfield they were brought in to be, with the latter scoring his first goal for the club against Villa in an impressive all-round performance in a comfortable victory.

“I thought it was probably our best performance of the season so far, which is pleasing,” said Robertson.

“I thought they (the midfield) were excellent, but to be honest I thought every player was excellent – even the subs who came on – it was a complete squad performance.”

On Szoboszlai’s goal, a sweetly-struck shot from the edge of the penalty area for which he built a reputation at previous club RB Leipzig, the Scotland captain added: “We’ve maybe not seen as much of it in games as we have seen in training but he’s got a pretty nice strike on him, that’s for sure.

“Technically he is a very gifted player, we’ve seen that already and I think he’ll have a big career here and we are looking forward to being a part of it.”

Football's governing bodies must do more to protect referees amid a "considerable rise" in abuse that has often been met with a "silent" response.

That was the message from Ref Support chief executive Martin Cassidy, who referenced issues with Bruno Fernandes, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andrew Robertson in the Premier League this season.

Fernandes appeared to make contact with an assistant referee in Liverpool's 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United, while Mitrovic was banned for eight games after pushing Chris Kavanagh.

Robertson was another involved in an altercation with an official, when assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis seemingly made contact with the Liverpool left-back with his elbow, though the official faced no further punishment after an investigation.

A couple of seasons earlier, former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero came under scrutiny for placing his hand on the shoulder of assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during a home victory over Arsenal. 

Cassidy believes the response to the rise in these issues has been inadequate, calling on the likes of the League Managers Association (LMA) and Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) to do more.

He told Stats Perform: "From a domestic point of view, what's been going on over here with the situations that [there has been] a considerable rise in contact with match officials from what's happened with Sian Massey-Ellis, Bruno Fernandes, Mitrovic, Robertson – it’s on the rise.

"When's it going to stop? And there are people who are silent on this who shouldn't be silent on this – the LMA, the PFA and even the Football Supporters' Association, they're all quiet on this, they comment on everything else.

"They will talk all these white papers and governments, and they tweet about enough is enough about things [that are important] to them, but they never come out and publicly condemn their behaviour by their members.

"The LMA never do it. We wrote to them, and we got a very benign, weak response. [The] PFA never say anything about the behaviour of their players – their members.

"Certainly, there never seems to be any stance from supporters associations who really want to stand up and say: 'Look, we are going to do something here, what's the protocols, what's the code of conduct for managers in the LMA, what is the code of conduct for a professional footballer with regard to how they behave with these post-match comments here?'

"So, there are a lot of silent people here who need to step up like the FA have in this country. When these people criticise the FA, the LMA and the PFA need to look at themselves and say what they are doing to address the situation that's caused directly by their members."

Cassidy acknowledged the problems span wider than English football, with the ill-tempered Europa League final between Roma and Sevilla marred by abuse of referee Anthony Taylor after the game.

Aside from refereeing issues, the ongoing racially motivated problems with Vinicius Junior and Spanish football continue – and Cassidy believes UEFA must improve.

"UEFA hasn't really got a good track record on what they've done with racism," he added. "So, they have been quite weak on that really and very erratic.

"Look at what has happened in Spain, they haven't really taken control of that. So, I'm not very hopeful that they'll respond to this in a manner that football wants it to respond to, but hopefully they prove us wrong.

"UEFA does, in particular with the UEFA foundation, some wonderful stuff. But when it comes to stuff like this, they don't seem to – look at what happened in the Champions League final last year, Liverpool-Real Madrid – they never really covered themselves in glory there.

"Let's take this opportunity, UEFA, let's make the game better. Let's come out hard and tough and let's send a message that this behaviour is totally unacceptable in our game."

What the papers say

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has reportedly made it onto Real Madrid’s transfer radar.

According to the Daily Mail, the 29-year-old Scotland captain is viewed by the LaLiga club as a potential replacement for injury-plagued defender Ferland Mendy. However, Robertson is contracted to Liverpool until 2026 and has shown no intention of leaving.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports Arsenal are prepared to move mountains in order to fuel their transfer capital. The paper says Gunners bosses are willing to sell as many as eight players to raise funds for their summer transfer pursuits, which includes Leicester’s James Maddison and West Ham’s Declan Rice.

Ajax forward Mohammed Kudus is eager to part ways with the Dutch club, according to The Sun. Citing De Telegraaf, the paper says the 22-year-old is ready for a change of scenery, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle all believed to be interested in the Ghana international.

And The Guardian reports Tottenham are considering approaching Feyenoord boss Arne Slot to take over as Spurs manager.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Ilkay Gundogan: ESPN says Arsenal are interested in a move for the Manchester City midfielder.

Julian Alvarez: Bayern Munich view the Manchester City forward as a summer transfer target, reports Bild.

Constantine Hatzidakis will return to action on Saturday in the Championship after being cleared over his dramatic clash with Liverpool defender Andy Robertson.

The assistant referee was investigated by the Football Association over an incident during the Reds' Premier League game with Arsenal earlier this month.

Television footage appeared to show that Hatzidakis' elbow made contact with Robertson's chin at the end of the first half, for which the official has said he has apologised.

He will feature in the second tier for his return as an assistant referee in the Championship game between Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale.

Hatzidakis will then be back in the Premier League next Tuesday when he is on VAR duty for Leeds United against Leicester City at Elland Road.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has said the assistant referee who allegedly elbowed Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson will not be appointed during the investigation into Sunday's incident.

After the half-time whistle was blown at Anfield during Liverpool's 2-2 Premier League draw with Arsenal, images showed Robertson approaching Constantine Hatzidakis, who was seen to lift his elbow into the Scotland captain.

The PGMOL released a statement on Monday confirming that while The Football Association's investigation is ongoing, the assistant referee will not be appointed to any games.

The statement read: "PGMOL will not be appointing Constantine Hatzidakis to fixtures in any of the competition it serves whilst The FA investigates the incident involving the assistant referee and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at Anfield."

Hatzidakis was also one of the assistant referees for Liverpool's game at Tottenham last season in which Robertson was left angered by the decision not to send Harry Kane off for a foul on him, before later seeing red himself.

Sunday's incident came just weeks after Fulham striker Alexandar Mitrovic received a red card for putting his hands on referee Chris Kavanagh during their FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

The Serbian was given an eight-game suspension, with The FA appealing for a longer ban.

The body responsible for Premier League match officials will investigate after an assistant referee appeared to elbow Liverpool's Andy Robertson during Sunday's draw with Arsenal.

Liverpool recovered from 2-0 down to dent Arsenal's title hopes in a thrilling game at Anfield, with Roberto Firmino heading a late equaliser to deny the Gunners a crucial win.

The match was played out in a fierce atmosphere, and the end of the first half saw a bizarre altercation between linesman Constantine Hatzidakis and Reds left-back Robertson.

As Robertson spoke to the official, television pictures seemed to show Hatzidakis raise his right elbow and make contact with the Scotland international.

According to Sky Sports, Robertson alleged the official had elbowed him in the throat upon entering the tunnel at half-time, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson reportedly complaining to referee Paul Tierney.

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for referees, vowed to examine the incident.

In a widely reported statement issued shortly before full-time, the body said: "PGMOL is aware of an incident involving assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at half-time during the Liverpool v Arsenal fixture at Anfield. 

"We will review the matter in full once the game has concluded."

Liverpool's fightback means Arsenal's lead over title rivals Manchester City stands at six points, though Pep Guardiola's champions have a game in hand and will host the Gunners at the Etihad Stadium later this month.

Liverpool were fuming as defender Andy Robertson appeared to be elbowed by an assistant referee at the end of the first half of Sunday's game against Arsenal.

The left-back approached the official, who was identified by Sky Sports as Constantine Hatzidakis, and seemed to be making a point to him.

It was unclear from a distance what was said, but television pictures then looked to show the assistant referee raise his right elbow and make contact with the Scotland international.

What was not obvious was whether the linesman had intended to catch Robertson.

Asked if he had ever seen anything like it, pundit and former Manchester United hard man Roy Keane said: "No, not really, but Robertson, does he grab the linesman first? I'm not sure, but Robertson then is complaining.

"He should be more worried about his defending."

Keane then pointed the finger at Robertson and described him as "a big baby".

"You know what he is, that Robertson," Keane said. "I've watched him a number of times, he is a big baby. Just get on with the game and concentrate on your defending. He does grab the linesman first."

According to Sky Sports, Robertson said on entering the tunnel at half-time: "The linesman has elbowed me in the throat."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson reportedly complained to referee Paul Tierney, before the players entered the dressing room.

Bukayo Saka returned to the Arsenal team to face Liverpool at Anfield, while Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah were handed starts for the hosts.

Saka dropped to the bench for a 4-1 hammering of Leeds United last weekend due to illness, but the England winger replaced Leandro Trossard in the Premier League leaders' starting line-up on Sunday.

That was the only change made by manager Mikel Arteta as the Gunners looked to restore their advantage over second-placed Manchester City to eight points.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp recalled centre-back Van Dijk and leading scorer Salah to his team, along with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Cody Gakpo.

Van Dijk was absent for a goalless draw with Chelsea in midweek, while Salah, Robertson, Gakpo and Alexander-Arnold started on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

Thiago Alcantara was included among the substitutes for Sunday's game after two months on the sidelines with a hip injury.

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