Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feels he needs “miracles” to get a number of his injured players back sooner rather than later.

Midfielder Ryan Gravenberch was the latest to be ruled out – for at least two matches – after he was carried off on a stretcher in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final victory over Chelsea.

But Wataru Endo is also a doubt for Wednesday’s FA Cup visit of Championship high-flyers Southampton after he left Wembley on crutches and wearing a protective boot, which would take the number of first-teamers unavailable to 13.

And Klopp admitted veteran midfielder Thiago Alcantara – who has made one five-minute substitute appearance since April – may not play again for the club as his contract expires in the summer.

Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai are closest to returning, but they may not be risked in the cup.

“We need miracles with a few players,” Klopp said. “I don’t want to rule them out for too long.

“But it is touch and go with a lot of players who were not available for the final: Darwin, Mo, Dom – we have to see what they can do (on Tuesday).

“In an ideal world you’d think about these kind of things but we obviously don’t live in an ideal world so we will see when the players arrive and they get checked.

“When the players arrive and I can look in their eyes and see who might be ready then I will make the line-up.”

Klopp is likely to have to rely on a number of the younger players who made such an impression at Wembley, with 19-year-olds Bobby Clark, son of former Newcastle midfielder Lee, and James McConnell likely to start against Saints.

Although the pair have made just one start apiece in cup competitions this season, Klopp has total faith in their ability to step up in the team’s hour of need – although he urged fans to make allowances for them.

“First and foremost, they don’t have to show anything. Our boys played in youth teams and under-21s and only came up recently and trained with us: absolutely nil experience but a lot of talent and they showed that,” he added.

“If you play more of them (against Southampton) from the start and we have a look and think, ‘Hmm, they are not as good as I thought on Sunday’, that would be horrendous so there is absolutely no pressure.

“All what these boys have to do is to really enjoy what they are doing. They have to defend like men, otherwise they cannot play.

“I saw them doing that (on Sunday) and it obviously helped and it gave confidence and there are so many things you cannot buy. Usually you need years for getting these kind of experiences that they got in a flash.

“It’s possible and a few of them have to start, that is clear, and if they do they will do the job and we all have to help them with celebrating the right things and not moaning about the wrong things.”

Following the capture of a record-extending 10th League Cup on Sunday, Liverpool have made tentative moves regarding an end-of-season parade.

It is not something they would not usually do for a victory in that competition but they want to mark the end of Klopp’s nine-year reign this summer.

“That is the one part which is not so cool that it could be seen as that (a farewell to him)” he said. “I don’t think that makes sense.

“But besides that, I am a big supporter of trophy parades and if there is a parade I will be on the bus, no doubt about that.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says there is pressure on his side to win every remaining Premier League match this season as even an eight-point lead over Manchester City would not be enough of a cushion.

With City not playing until Monday Liverpool could extend the current five-point gap with victory at third-placed Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola’s side would have two matches in hand but their run-in record in recent years – they won their last 14 games in 2018-19 to pip their north-west rivals by a point and dropped just six points in the final 12 matches of 2021-22 to again win the title by a single point – means there is no margin for error from the Reds.

“Shall I go to the boys in the dressing room and say, ‘If we win against Arsenal we are eight points between us and them…’? Everybody knows that,” said the German, whose team have lost just once in the league.

“If we lose we are still two points ahead (if City win their game in hand as it stands), but then City are the big winner of a game they are not even involved in.

“That’s outside talk and fine. Inside, we just focus on the things we have to do.

“I think what we learned over the years is if you want to be around City then you better win all your football games because they do. That’s all.

“This is the time where City is dominating, that’s how it is. They play incredible stuff and would probably consider themselves not playing their very best season but are where they are.

“We play a very good season and are in the moment two points ahead of City. We will try to make it as hard as somehow possible for everyone who wants to finish the season above us.”

While there is a doubt over striker Darwin Nunez, who has a foot injury, Liverpool are almost back to full strength fitness-wise with only Mohamed Salah (hamstring) and Wataru Endo (Asian Cup) still unavailable in the short-term.

And while the forward line has so far not missed the input of Salah the midfield too has coped without Endo, their only genuine defensive midfielder.

Alexis Mac Allister has been tasked with the job for most of the season to allow Endo time to acclimatise to English football but the Argentina international was also learning a new role himself.

In recent weeks the defensive side of his game has improved markedly and in his last two league appearances against Bournemouth and Chelsea he made nine and eight tackles respectively – the most by any Liverpool player in the last three seasons – and won 25 duels across those two matches.

“I’m over the moon. Macca is just like a football doctor,” added Klopp.

“Playing the position the way he plays is very special. (He is) super-smart and his contribution for all our play in possession is extremely important.

“This is the best league in the world and we are top of the table, what does that say? Are there any bad players in this team? No.

“One thing in each footballer’s life, it is always consistency. You want to see it again.

“For the moment, the base is good, still to be extended to make sure we are in a good position for the run-in.”

Aymen Hussein scored both goals as Iraq shocked tournament favourites Japan 2-1 to claim a place in the knockout stage of the Asian Cup on Friday.

Hussein struck twice in the first half at Education City Stadium, with a 93rd-minute header from Wataru Endo proving to be too little, too late for Japan.

The famous win lifts Iraq, the 2007 champions, to the top of Group D with six points from two games and guarantees them a spot in the round of 16. 

Four-time winners Japan, Asia's highest-ranked team at 17, are second with three points.

Iraq took the lead after just six minutes when Japan goalkeeper Zion Suzuki palmed Ali Jasim's cross from the left straight to Hussein, who headed it home.

Japan streamed forward in search of an equaliser but Iraq defended in numbers before doubling their lead in first-half added time as Hussein headed in Aymed Yahya's cross. The goal was given following a VAR review to check if the ball had rolled out of play in the build-up.

It looked like Japan had been awarded a penalty 10 minutes into the second half as Takuma Asano was judged to have been fouled by Rebin Sulaka. However, referee Khalid Al-Turais overturned his original decision after viewing the pitchside monitor.

Liverpool midfielder Endo eventually got Japan within a goal in added time after goalkeeper Jalal Hachim failed to collect the ball but it was not enough to prevent his country's first group-stage loss at the Asian Cup since 1988.

Vietnam play Indonesia in the other Group D game on Friday, before Hong Kong meet Iran in Group C.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted he would be happy for Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo’s international absences to be kept to a minimum as his side begin their fight on three fronts in January.

Salah is away with Egypt in the African Nations Cup, while Japan captain Endo is at the Asian Cup and both players are expected to go deep into the respective competitions.

That could mean a return in the second week of February but Klopp said he sent them on their way this week without wishing them too much success.

“I said if I wish you good luck it would be a lie,” he said ahead of the FA Cup tie at Arsenal.

“From a personal point of view, I would be happy if they go out in the group stage but that’s probably not possible. They can go on and win it.

“So it was ‘good luck and come back healthy’. We have to deal with it and we will deal with it. I am pretty positive that we will find a way.”

It is impossible to have a like-for-like replacement for Salah as he is one of a kind but Klopp does not really have a suitable player in the right-winger mould to take his place.

Midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai was touted as a potential option but he has been ruled out for at least two matches with a hamstring injury sustained in the New Year’s Day win over Newcastle.

“I can confirm it’s not a potential injury – it is an injury. Muscle, hamstring. But now we have to see,” added Klopp.

“Dom is very positive, doesn’t have a lot of pain but we have to wait a little bit. So, no chance obviously for Sunday, not for Wednesday (the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at home to Fulham).

“And then we will see. After that, hopefully he might be back but we don’t know.”

Nevertheless Klopp was confident Liverpool could fill the hole left by Salah, even if he could not hope to replicate the Egypt international’s goal involvement.

“I think we played against West Ham (in last month’s Carabao Cup quarter-final) without Mo on that side and Harvey Elliott played there,” he said.

“We have different offensive options who can all play that wing in a different way.

“Nobody else can play like Mo, it is not possible – we just have to use the boys with their skills.

“Do we want to play without Mo? No. In the past we didn’t have to do it often but we always found a way.

“But we play Arsenal and you can lose to Arsenal with Mo Salah so it’s possible to lose to them without him.”

Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo admitted it was difficult to leave Merseyside for the Asian Cup just when he had started to really find his form.

The Japan captain, a £16million signing from Stuttgart, started the last six matches as he deputised for the injured Alexis Mac Allister and that regular rhythm undoubtedly helped the 30-year-old find his feet after a tough introduction to English football.

But the New Year’s Day win over Newcastle – that extended Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to three points – was Endo’s last game for a month as he flies out to Qatar to begin preparations for the tournament which begins next Friday.

 

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Unlike Mohamed Salah, who is now away with Egypt at the African Nations Cup, when he returns, Endo will have lost his place to Mac Allister, who has been first choice in the holding role all season, and will have lost the momentum he built up.

“Of course I want to stay here but as a national team player it is important for me as I am captain. I am now focused on the national team and just doing my best,” said Endo.

“I want to have good results at the Asia Cup, but that’ll mean I have to stay longer in Qatar.

“But Macca has come back now, so I can just stay focused on the national team. I’m sure we (Liverpool) will play well, 100 per cent.

“I want to come back with the Asia Cup title. I’m confident Liverpool can do well in the absence of me and Mo.”

Endo’s late arrival in mid-August meant his integration into the side took longer and, as a result, he was mainly restricted to starts in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

However, Mac Allister’s injury and a heavy December workload meant manager Jurgen Klopp had little option but to play him every week and that made a significant difference.

“It has been the toughest Christmas and New Year in my life but to play football is amazing so I’ve enjoyed it also,” Endo added.

“It’s a very tough schedule but I needed to keep playing. Playing the games is the most important way for me to improve.

“We have so many injured players. I was thinking, I am a very important player on the pitch so I needed to show why I came here.

“I think the team played well and I also played better than before and we are now top of the table so I feel I did my job. I feel like I’ve got to grips more with playing in England.

“Confidence is a big thing also. The manager has shown a lot of faith in me. The other players know me better now as well, that’s also important for me to play better.”

Liverpool have recalled 20-year-old James Balagizi from his loan spell at Wigan, where he made just seven appearances – only three of which were in League One.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed their dramatic late 4-3 Premier League win over Fulham as a “game you will never forget” after his side scored twice in the final four minutes of normal time.

The hosts looked to be heading for a first Anfield defeat since February – when Real Madrid, no less, were victorious – only for Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold to snatch an 11th-successive home win this season.

It was just reward for Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s vice-captain, as his brilliant free-kick to open the score was credited as a Bernd Leno own goal after the ball went in via the underside of the crossbar and the goalkeeper.

Alexis Mac Allister’s first goal for the club since his move from Brighton in the summer was even better – a rising 30-yard drive into the top corner to re-establish their lead after former Liverpool forward Harry Wilson had equalised.

But more shaky defending allowed Kenny Tete to make it 2-2 before half-time and substitute Bobby De Cordova-Reid thought he had snatched three points in the 80th minute, only for Liverpool to produce a late rally.

“The feeling after the game was exceptional. During the game it was slightly different in moments,” said Klopp.

“I told the boys after the game turned out, the game we saw, because we were a bit dumb.

“But at 3-3 everyone could see the boys wanted more and because we were a bit lucky today, we got it.

“An outstanding experience for everyone who was here. I don’t think anyone would have thought before the game that Liverpool v Fulham will be a game that you will never forget in your life. But… you’re welcome.

“I never saw a competitive game with this amount of ‘worldies’. Trent’s free-kick: unbelievable. Macca, before the game you could see his foot was right today and I thought today, ‘You better try it’ and he obviously thought the same.”

The win was not without setbacks however with centre-back Joel Matip expected to be sidelined for some time with a knee problem.

“We lost today Joel and we have obviously no scan yet but after all you hear and can see that will not be a short one. Unlucky, but we have to get through this,” added Klopp.

Fulham boss Marco Silva saw his side end the week having scored six times in two Premier League matches – after just 10 in their previous 12 – and was frustrated not to have got something from their trip to Anfield.

“Clearly we deserved much more from the game than what we took,” he said.

“To come to Anfield and play the way we did – twice we scored to equalise – and then at the end of the second half to be able to score a great team goal and be leading is not an easy thing.

“We know the game is never 100 per cent under control against these types of sides and these types of crowds but the game was more or less under control.

“(Then) one long ball, a good second ball from them and another great finish from the edge of the box and in that moment I knew it was the end of the match.”

Liverpool summer signing Wataru Endo has found the Premier League more difficult than he expected but is confident he can improve and contribute more.

The 30-year-old Japan international, a £12million arrival from Stuttgart, was viewed as something of a stop-gap solution to the club’s lack of defensive midfielders following Fabinho’s unexpected departure to Saudi Arabia.

Of his 15 appearances so far, only two have been Premier League starts (against Newcastle and Brentford), with manager Jurgen Klopp preferring to utilise Argentina World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister in an unfamiliar holding role.

 

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Endo has gained most of his game time in the Europa League and Carabao Cup and his late arrival – he was signed in mid-August – did not help his integration.

 

“Yes, it’s harder than I thought, but I’m very happy to be here,” he said when asked about his experience of the Premier League so far.

“Physically, it’s speedy, so it’s very hard to adapt but it’s the Premier League and I keep trying and keep playing and I’ll get better.

“I’m already 30 years old but I feel I have a chance to grow as a football player so I’m so happy to be here and I can improve.

“After I got here I had a talk with the boss about how Liverpool play. After that I just try to do that and he talks a lot with me about it.

“Every time I try to help Liverpool play and of course I always watch what they do from the bench. I think it is an important thing and I am getting better and better.”

Endo’s start to life at Anfield was not helped by the fact as the only holding midfielder there was a lot of attention on him to slot straight into the side and perform a similar role to the one that 30-year-old Fabinho did for five years.

In addition, Liverpool’s midfield underwent a complete overhaul in the summer with Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch now looking like the established first choices.

But with nine matches to come this month, Endo is likely to get more opportunities.

“I’m always ready to play every game, that’s the most important thing. We need all the players so I try to be ready every game and try to win every game,” he added.

“Liverpool has a very winning mentality so we always need to win, need to get three points, and it’s a very difficult thing but that’s why I came here. I’m enjoying the pressure.

“I’m a defensive midfielder so I have to make a difference in defence but also to take up good positions and play good football. I’m enjoying playing with amazing players.”

Liverpool seized control of Europa League Group E as they breezed to a 5-1 win over Toulouse at Anfield to go five points clear after three games.

Diogo Jota continued his love affair with Europe’s second competition, scoring his eighth goal in seven appearances, and although Thijs Dallinga levelled for the visitors, Wataru Endo got off the mark in Liverpool colours and Darwin Nunez added another to put Jurgen Klopp’s men in charge before half-time.

Nunez then hit the post of an open goal just after the hour, but Ryan Gravenberch tucked in the rebound and substitute Mohamed Salah added a fifth in stoppage time to leave Liverpool – three points off the top of the Premier League – looking strong on all fronts as they face an intense run of fixtures.

Klopp had promised to make “not too many” changes to his side following Saturday’s 2-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby, but there were only three survivors in the starting line-up – Jota, Gravenberch and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Klopp had also said he wanted to ensure Toulouse, who lost 4-0 on their only previous visit to Anfield in 2007, did not enjoy their evening and all three of those players had a big say in making sure they did not.

Jota got the opening goal, Alexander-Arnold the assist for the second and Gravenberch, a driving force throughout in Liverpool’s midfield, creating the third before scoring the fourth, but this was also a show of the depth in Klopp’s squad.

Jota opened the scoring with only nine minutes gone. Joe Gomez prodded the ball forward to the Portugal international, who turned on the edge of the centre circle and ran at goal, holding off two opponents and skipping past Logan Costa before beating Guillaume Restes with a low shot.

Liverpool, dominant on the ball and winning the midfield battle, looked poised for a comfortable night, but Toulouse then gave their noisy travelling support a moment to savour, hitting their hosts on the break with quarter of an hour gone.

Aron Donnum turned on the halfway line to play in Dallinga, being kept onside by Alexander-Arnold and he had space to run at goal before slotting a shot under Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool soon regained their composure. Gravenberch almost scored a remarkable goal in the 28th minute, controlling a raking pass from Alexander-Arnold, breaking into the box and then – having seemingly run into traffic – twisting his way through to test the 18-year-old Restes with a low shot.

Moments later, Endo’s moment arrived as the Japan international got in front of his man to direct Alexander-Arnold’s cross into the corner of the net.

Toulouse were rocked and soon fell further behind. Gravenberch drove at goal from his own half, laying the ball off for Curtis Jones to shoot from a central position. His effort was charged down but the ricochet fell for Nunez, whose emphatic finish found the roof of the net.

There was a scare at the start of the first half as Kelleher got a clearance all wrong, leaving Gabriel Suazo with what should have been an easy chance, but he shot straight at Alexander-Arnold on the line.

Liverpool’s fourth came about in almost comical circumstances in the 65th minute. Jota’s pass found the run of Nunez, who had done the hard work by rounding Restes, only to see his shot come back off the post.

Nunez still had his head in his hands as Gravenberch picked up the pieces to get the goal his performance deserved.

Cody Gakpo then replaced Nunez in a flurry of substitutions, making a welcome return from a knee injury, while there was also a late cameo for Salah, who scored his ninth goal in 12 appearances for Liverpool with almost the last kick of the game.

Wataru Endo was disappointed but proud of the way nine-man Liverpool fought in the face of “difficult decisions” during the last-gasp defeat at Tottenham.

Jurgen Klopp’s men saw their unbeaten start to the Premier League season end in north London as Joel Matip’s own goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time gave Spurs a 2-1 win.

Liverpool had gone so close to a point after seeing Curtis Jones’ booking upgraded to red midway through the first half after his challenge was reviewed by VAR.

Son Heung-min soon broke the deadlock only for the Reds to equalise through Cody Gakpo, whose half-time replacement Diogo Jota was sent off in the 69th minute for two yellows.

But the main talking point was how Luis Diaz’s opener was wrongly ruled out for offside due to what the Professional Game Match Officials Limited called a “significant human error” by VAR Darren England.

Summer signing Endo, who came on with Liverpool reduced to nine men, said: “At the end, a very tough game but there were 50-50 decisions in the game and yeah, it’s very difficult to play with nine players.

“But I wanted to get one point so I am very disappointed about it.

“I am just so proud of this team. I am just disappointed.

“We have to learn from this result and of course we showed our spirit, even though we faced difficult decisions we fought until the end.

“That’s Liverpool and always we have to try to win the game. We can learn from this game but we just keep going.”

Liverpool will look to bounce back from their first Premier League defeat of the season at Brighton next Sunday before attention turns to international matches.

Matip will be particularly desperate to win after his late own goal in the capital, but Endo says nobody in the dressing room is blaming the defender.

“Actually, he played an amazing game today so no-one can say something to him,” he told the club website.

“I am so proud of what he did today and I am so proud of what my team-mates did today.”

Liverpool have a Europa League group match against Union Saint-Gilloise before heading to Brighton, but there are no continental distractions for Spurs this year.

Tottenham missed out on European qualification in a poor 2022-23 campaign but have been reborn under Ange Postecoglou, with his new-look side second in the standings.

“It was an important moment,” goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario said.

“We were level, then we scored. We deserved this win all together.

“We have to enjoy this moment, to rest then keep going because we have another challenge next week (at Luton) and then the international break.

“We have to be focused and to prepare the best game by game.

“This has to be our goal throughout the season – keep going, keep working.”

Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Wataru Endo’s Liverpool debut in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth after admitting the new signing would have had “no clue what to do” tactically.

The Japan captain only completed his £16million move from Stuttgart on Friday and was a late addition to Liverpool’s matchday squad after his international clearance narrowly came through on time.

But the 30-year-old was thrown in at the deep end when asked to come on moments after Alexis Mac Allister was sent off just before the hour mark – even if the task was made slightly easier as Diogo Jota made it 3-1 to Liverpool as Endo was waiting to come on.

“It was a horrible first game coming in,” Klopp said. “He did absolutely all right. But he came there, he had no clue what to do. I spoke in the morning with him about how with 11 players it would look, but 4-4-1 was not involved in our conversation.

“I don’t think he slept a lot in the last two nights but he came on and threw everything he had on the pitch.”

Endo’s job was to help Liverpool shut up shop at the end of a frantic fixture, in which Antoine Semenyo had fired Bournemouth in front just three minutes in amid a terrible start from Liverpool, before Luis Diaz levelled and Mo Salah’s penalty put the hosts in front before the break.

While Endo was making a full debut quicker than expected, Saturday’s match was a first Anfield appearance for both Mac Allister and fellow summer signing Dominik Szoboszlai.

The 22-year-old Szoboszlai won the penalty when he made the most of an outstretched leg from Joe Rothwell, and it was his shot which Neto could only parry to allow Jota to make it 3-1.

“His away debut was not too bad either,” Klopp said of the £60million signing from RB Leipzig. “I had to hold him back a little bit. He was the only one who has the power for more.

“He was part of the double six, running everything, but the general performance level he showed since he was here is really, really good. And his involvement in the goal is obviously super important.

“His shooting we didn’t see properly yet but we will probably see more in the future. Macca’s home debut was impressive as well, it just wasn’t as long.”

The win takes Liverpool to four points from their opening two fixtures after last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

“I think it’s the minimum we should expect from these two games,” Klopp said. “When we look at the games we don’t say where we should win or lose but when you start at Chelsea I don’t think anybody goes there and books the points in, ‘OK we have them already’.

“Of course against Bournemouth, our first home game, we want to win. It’s an OK start. If we wouldn’t have won we would think differently.”

Bournemouth goalscorer Semenyo was the one change Andoni Iraola made to his starting line-up and the January signing from Bristol City suggested he is fully over the shin surgery he had at the end of last season with a strong display.

“He was really good (last week against West Ham) when he came in and gave us a lot of energy for 20 minutes,” Iraola said. “He has been training well and here he has scored. He finished really tired like a lot of players did but it’s good news.

“I think he can play both wings and as a number nine. He is physically powerful and we need this.”

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