Liverpool injury update
Liverpool’s injury issues this season have been startling and the fact the Reds remain joint top of the Premier League table is slightly miraculous.
Not only have they lost their main two centre-halves to injury, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, but further issues for Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Xherdan Shaqiri have also infringed on their performances.
Ahead of Liverpool’s final Champions League match against Midtjylland, the Reds have already won their group and are under no pressure to play a full-strength side.
With so many players out though, many young players like Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Nathaniel Phillips, Curtis Jones and Takumi Minamino have all had to step into the fold and will likely continue to do so on Wednesday. Caoimhin Kelleher stepped into the shows of Alisson and kept a clean sheet against Wolves with typical back-up keeper Adrian on the bench.
Jurgen Klopp has said that there is no good news regarding returning players and will likely have to play many youth players if he wants to rotate ahead of the weekend.
“Nobody suffered any kind of problems from the last game. On the other side, nobody else is close enough to return to the squad,” said Klopp.
“Our CL squad was already very young. Yes, they will travel and then we will make decisions. Our analysis isn’t finalised yet. It’s the first time we don’t have to get a result in final group game but it’s still the CL and we are Liverpool.”
Klopp on playing the kids: “Our CL squad was already very young. Yes, they will travel and then we will make decisions. Our analysis isn’t finalised yet. It’s the first time we don’t have to get a result in final group game but it’s still the CL and we are Liverpool.”
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) December 8, 2020
Gasperini rests ahead of Ajax
Despite winning at Anfield, Atalanta’s 1-1 draw with Midtjylland has left their final match with Ajax as an effective play-off for the final qualifying knockout round spot. Josep Ilicic and Papu Gomez have been an integral part of Gian Piero Gasperini’s setup at the Bergamo-based club.
However, he planned to rest ahead of the match against Udinese but thankfully for Gasperini the match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Speaking prior to the news he said, “I think Gomez played 190 out of my 200 games in Bergamo. I think he’ll continue to do what he has done so far. I am the coach, the team must know that it’s looked after.”
“When I make decisions, Papu has always been extraordinary for me, especially in recent years. He was incredible, but there are moments that happen, as it did the other night.”
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 25: Gian Piero Gasperini, Head Coach of Atalanta B.C. reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Liverpool FC and Atalanta BC at Anfield on November 25, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images)
“I think it’ll do him good to get some rest, he needs a few days to distract himself so he can be ready for Amsterdam. As for Josip, I need to rediscover the best Ilicic. I’ve been working with him for some time now, but he needs to send me a signal too. He has to step up a gear.”
Both Midtjylland vs Liverpool and Ajax vs Atalanta kick off at 17:55 on Wednesday.