Klopp on alert for Huddersfield 'trap'

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge (centre), who had been plagued by injury since his move to Merseyside in 2013, is hoping to add to his four-goal tally this season.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge (centre), who had been plagued by injury since his move to Merseyside in 2013, is hoping to add to his four-goal tally this season.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's fears of a lengthening injury list were realised over the international break and the situation will do little to help the joint English Premier League leaders arrest a recent dip in form.

The German had expressed his reservations over the Nations League, which he branded the "most senseless competition in the world", claiming that his players needed a rest after a gruelling fixture list that saw his side play seven matches in 23 days.

And after Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita all returned early from international duty with injuries, Klopp was resigned to his selection headache, having foreseen the possibility.

While Salah and van Dijk are expected to be fit, having since completed full training sessions, Mane, who suffered a thumb injury with Senegal, is a doubt.

Keita, meanwhile, could be out for a fortnight after injuring his thigh while playing for Guinea.

Speaking ahead of today's Premier League trip to Huddersfield, Klopp told reporters: "11/2 weeks ago, everybody was quite happy or satisfied with the (injury) situation; 11/2 weeks later, we miss a few players. That's the situation, we cannot change it."

Without a win in their last four games, the Reds are anxious to rediscover the fluent football that delivered seven successive victories in all competitions during the opening weeks of the season.

That run - the Merseyside club's best start to a campaign since the 1961-62 season - appeared to confirm Liverpool's status as the main challengers to champions Manchester City in the race for the league title.

Although Huddersfield - without a win this season and mired in the drop zone - should not pose too much of a threat, Klopp was quick to warn of the danger of falling into the complacency "trap".

"This game is a 100 per cent trap. We are third with 20 points, they are pretty much bottom of the table, (but) we know it will be a tough one," the 51-year-old said.

"At home especially, they are unbelievably lively, the mood in the club is still really good, you can see in the stadium the atmosphere is good.

"They play proper football, they are difficult to catch. So far it was unlucky (for them)."

Daniel Sturridge also concurred with his boss' view that the visit to the John Smith's Stadium was a potential banana skin.

"The games are always difficult off the back of international breaks. Players are tired, they've travelled, we can't do as much tactical work," said the rejuvenated England striker, who has scored four goals in nine appearances for the Reds this term.

"People will say we're favourites but we're both on the same playing field."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2018, with the headline 'Klopp on alert for Huddersfield 'trap''. Print Edition | Subscribe