Thursday, December 8 2022

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool were assessing the fitness of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk as they prepare for their must-win Premier League match against Southampton on Tuesday.

The quadruple-chasing Reds were given fresh hope they could pip Manchester City to the title when Pep Guardiola’s team dropped two points in a 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday.

Defending champions City, with one game remaining, are four points clear at the top of the table with a significantly better goal difference than their rivals, who have two games left.

Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final at the weekend to complete the second leg of a potential quadruple.

But Klopp is waiting to find out the extent of injuries to top-scorer Salah and defensive talisman Van Dijk, who were both forced off at Wembley on Saturday.

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who missed the cup final with a muscle injury, is not yet ready to return, but Scotland defender Andy Robertson should be available after suffering cramp on Saturday.

“This process has not finished yet because we only played the 120 minutes two days ago,” Klopp told reporters on Monday.

“So when the boys arrive today I have to make a lot of decisions. Then we will line up a team.

“What I can promise and definitely say is we will line up a team only for one reason — to try to win the game at Southampton, as difficult as it is, because that obviously is the job to do.

“We have to see who is able to help. The 30 extra minutes (at Wembley) made a big difference, but we have to see.”

– City slip-up? –

Liverpool, who face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28, can cut City’s lead to a single point with victory at St Mary’s, but Klopp does not expect Guardiola’s side to slip up again.

City host Aston Villa next Sunday while Liverpool play Wolves at Anfield.

“I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow,” said Klopp. “Is it a chance, a big chance? I wouldn’t say so because I don’t know when City dropped points the last time two games in a row historically.

“So Aston Villa has to play in midweek when they are not used to that. As much as I’m sure they’re all professionals and these kind of things, they want to go at City, but City is a pretty good football team. So, I don’t expect City to drop points there.”

Klopp said the FA Cup win, which followed Liverpool’s League Cup triumph earlier this season, took the pressure off the club in the final weeks of the season.

“If we play a season like we play and win the Carabao (League) Cup and fight until the end for the league title, that’s, for me, a really good season,” he said.

“It feels much better that we won already two (trophies), to be honest.

“If we would have lost the final, the negative scenario that we will not become champions and in a few weeks you are all not shy of reminding me that it all depends on one game if it’s a success or not and these kind of things.”

jw/smg/pi

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