Defensive injuries mount up as Liverpool prepare for 'crazy' week

Liverpool start what Jurgen Klopp, their manager, believes is a “crazy” week of games with a minor defensive crisis ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime trip to Bournemouth.

Victory would take Klopp’s side to the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, but they will have to do it with just two recognised centre-backs available – Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.

Joe Gomez will miss around six weeks after suffering a break in his lower left leg in the victory at Burnley in midweek. Klopp revealed that his natural replacement, Dejan Lovren, was unavailable due to concussion.

Klopp is hoping the Croatian will be able to return for the decisive Champions League group game against Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday but he will not be able to call on Nathaniel Clyne for defensive cover from his squad as he, too, is on the recovery trail.

“He’s not available. It is too complicated to explain what he’s done but it’s nothing ruptured and nothing broken,” Klopp said of Clyne, who has made just one appearance this season.

Nathaniel Clyne is not available to step in to the team due to his own recovery process

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Klopp absolved Burnley’s Ben Mee of any malice over the tackle which left Gomez injured but he remains adamant that some of the slide-tackling at Turf Moor was dangerous, a claim which Burnley manager Sean Dyche had suggested was trying to “reinvent the rules”.

“Sliding tackles are all different,” said Klopp. “It’s one thing to block the ball, you clear the ball without, like bowling, and you take the player. It’s possible you can slide in, take the ball and everything is fine.

“Being aggressive for me, my understanding, is the readiness to hurt yourself and not the other player. I understand 100 per cent that Mee did not want to injure Joe. Maybe that was the cleanest tackle of all.”

Like Manchester City, Klopp’s side remain unbeaten after 15 Premier League games but he is not even thinking about the possibility of matching Arsenal’s “Invincibles” of 2003-04.

“I don’t know. Wasn’t it Arsenal who last did it? It’s very exceptional. Obviously it’s very difficult. Without luck, no chance. With a lot of luck, probably you have a chance. But we don’t think about that.

“You would then think about games in January and February and we have enough to do now.”

Liverpool have managed to stay in proximity to City while others have dropped away, but Klopp insists his team are concentrating only on themselves.

“We expect them [City] to win all the time apart from the games against us. We have only to try to play the best season we can play, whatever that means,” he said.

“You cannot play against two teams – the one on the other side of the pitch and the one in your mind. That doesn’t work. Whatever they get at the end of the season, they probably deserve. It will be the same for us.

“The good thing with this number of games in a short period is we have a lot of opportunities to win. We will try that. The week coming up now is crazy – Bournemouth, Napoli and Man United. That’s a massive week again and we have already had a few. That is our life and we love it.”

Sadio Mane is also likely to miss the trip to the Vitality Stadium with a cut foot but Andy Robertson is available after missing out at Burnley.