With a mixed bag of results making the opening days of Liverpool’s Premier League campaign nothing to get too excited about, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will be looking to get back to winning ways when his side face off against defending champions Leicester City on Saturday evening in what will be their first match at Anfield this season and the first in which the newly redeveloped Main Stand will be open for business. Speaking to the press ahead of the meeting with the Foxes, the German manager had some good news and some bad news — which, of course, is nothing new at all.
“Mane, I don’t know how it works and who said it, but it was absolutely nothing,” confirmed the Klopp, rubbishing rumours that the Senegalese attacker picked up an injury while on International duty. “He has trained since he was [back] here completely normally,” added the boss, giving providing some sugar to help the medicine go down. “Emre is different. In the Burton game, he didn’t even need an opponent – he did it by himself – but this little issue with the ankle,” he explained after Can was sent home from the Germany camp. “It is much better but Emre didn’t have a perfect pre-season and didn’t have a few games and unfortunately another two-and-a-half-week break now,” continued Klopp. “Maybe he will be back today or tomorrow in team training but it will not be enough for the Leicester game.”
The German midfielder wasn’t the only one to pick up a knock while away from Anfield with summer signing and Estonia captain Ragnar Klavan aggravating an existing knee problem as they were thrashed 5-0 by Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was unlikely that the veteran defender would be recalled to the starting eleven with Klopp expected to stay the course with the budding partnership of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren, but Can’s continued absence will almost certainly mean that summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum, who played for just over an hour in the Netherlands draw with Sweden on Tuesday evening, will continue to partner club captain Jordan Henderson in the heart of the midfield.
And what about Philippe Coutinho? The Brazilian, who isn’t injured at all, was on hand to assist Barcelona superstar Neymar as he bagged the winner in a 2-1 win over Colombia, but a long flight from South America could could have an adverse effect on the Reds talisman despite the club making “special arrangements” for him to return to Liverpool on Thursday morning. Leicester are going to be tough to beat, but should Coutinho — who has been in fine form in the early days of the season — go missing, it’ll only make things that much harder.