Solid reds can bank on Adrian

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's mural is seen on the walls of a guest house near Anfield stadium. Under the stewardship of the German, Anfield has become a fortress with Liverpool unbeaten there for the last 40 league matches. PHOTO: REUTERS
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's mural is seen on the walls of a guest house near Anfield stadium. Under the stewardship of the German, Anfield has become a fortress with Liverpool unbeaten there for the last 40 league matches. PHOTO: REUTERS

Goalkeeper Alisson set to return only next month as Klopp plots to extend Liverpool unbeaten home run to 41

LONDON • Not much has gone wrong for Liverpool, despite losing their first-choice goalkeeper Alisson to a calf injury in their English Premier League opener against Norwich City.

The only side with a 100 per cent start to the season, the Reds are top of the table and, although the European champions have kept only one clean sheet in all competitions since, Adrian, by all accounts, has acquitted himself well as his stand-in.

And the Spaniard will be getting more chances in goal, including for tonight's home game against Newcastle, after manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Alisson will not be available until after the international break next month.

At his pre-match press conference yesterday, the German told reporters that the Brazil No. 1 had suffered "a really serious injury", so the club would not be rushing his return, now pencilled in for Oct 20, the date of their blockbuster league clash at Manchester United.

He said: "Alisson looks good and he is improving, but we cannot put any pressure on him. It is now much better and that's good for us and good for him, but we don't know exactly (how long the recovery will take). The target was always after the next international break."

Klopp, however, had better news over Naby Keita, who has missed their last three matches with a groin injury. While the Guinea midfielder will not be available for both the visit of Newcastle and their trip to Napoli midweek in the Champions League, he is "close" to a return to first-team training.

Aside from the duo, Liverpool pretty much have a clean bill of health and will be confident of making it a club record-extending 14th straight top-flight victory.

They are also unbeaten at Anfield in their last 40 league matches, though Klopp warned his side of complacency, referring to the Magpies' 1-0 upset away win over Tottenham last month.

"They are very difficult to play against," he said of Steve Bruce's team, who are 14th in the league. "The style is similar to last season. They defend with a big heart. It won't be easy.

"I'm really impressed by the things they have done so far. Newcastle had something like 20 per cent possession against Tottenham, but they deserved the three points. They will fight like crazy.

"They sold (Salomon) Rondon, got Joelinton and he is similar. They have speed for counters."

Of Liverpool's home record, he insisted it did not come about overnight as "we (had to) work hard for that", adding: "We just try to improve all the time. This club are wonderful and it's just the atmosphere hasn't always been like this.

"We had to make Anfield a fortress again. We created a proper basis, it became more difficult for teams to get something."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Solid reds can bank on Adrian'. Print Edition | Subscribe