Klopp: We miss Salah and Mane but must get through this period

Jurgen Klopp admits Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane’s absences are affecting Liverpool, but has urged his side to “get through this together”.

Salah and Mane – along with Naby Keita – are currently at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and, with the final scheduled for February 6, Liverpool could be without them for several more weeks.

While Liverpool’s first match without the trio was a comfortable FA Cup victory against League One side Shrewsbury, Salah and Mane’s absence was clearly felt during the 0-0 home draw against Arsenal – who played with 10 men for the majority of the match – on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League fixture against Brentford on Sunday, Klopp insisted Liverpool should have been able to break down the Gunners even without Salah and Mane, but he conceded his side are missing the talismanic duo.

Asked if he had concerns over his side’s chances without the pair, Klopp said: “The only way we can avoid these kind of questions is by scoring.

“The situation is clear: they are not here and they are world-class players. Do we miss them? Yes, but it’s not about who is not here, but about how we can do better.

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Jurgen Klopp insists he has no concerns about Mohamed Salah’s contract situation and is confident the forward will commit his future to the club

“The start was really good, we caused Arsenal a lot of problems, we pressed the right spaces, we created enough and then the red card happened. You have to break down a really low block, and that’s the most difficult thing. We couldn’t do that last night.

“We were not good enough in moments, but we can do better and that’s what we will do.”

Despite facing 10 men for over an hour and having nearly 80 per cent of the possession against Arsenal, Liverpool managed just one shot on target as the Gunners sat in and successfully protected their goal.

It led to questions about whether the speed of Salah and Mane coming in from the wings and getting behind defences would be a particularly pertinent loss during their time at AFCON, but Klopp believed those queries were missing the point.

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Liverpool and Arsenal

“There’s absolutely nothing bad to say about Sadio and Mo,” said Klopp. “Outstanding players. Naby I would say is one of the best midfielders I ever saw. But they are not here.

“Last night we didn’t miss speed – that was not our problem. They were so deep, where do we want to run? Over the touchline, into the stands? There was no space.

“There are so many things we can do – counter-pressing, winning the ball back – that’s not about pace. We have to play against deep formations, in between the lines.

“Quick thinking is much more important than quick running. Yes, Mo, Sadio and Naby can think quick but they are not here.

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Jamie Carragher says Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool contract needs to be sorted ‘sooner rather than later’ and admits the club’s owners will not be forgiven if he is allowed to go

“It was crystal clear that we would sit here today after we draw 0-0 against 10 men and the only thing you would have in your mind is Sadio and Mo. But that’s not a solution, it’s only part of a problem. We are here to find solutions.

“Last night we were not perfect but maybe we are closer to our usual standard in the next game and we can win. We have to get through different periods in a season. This is our period now – let’s get through this together.”

‘Big drop-off without Salah & Mane’

Speaking to Sky Sports following Liverpool’s disappointing stalemate with Arsenal, Jamie Carragher claimed the drastic drop-off without Salah and Mane will give Liverpool’s upcoming opponents room for optimism.

“That has been the thing about Liverpool: they have had a great 13 or 14 players they can really rely on,” Carragher said.

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Paul Merson and Jamie Carragher admit that Liverpool are not the same side without attacking duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane

“What’s brilliant about Salah and Mane is not just their ability but the fact they are never injured. They play every single game.

“With Brentford at the weekend, the return leg [against Arsenal], and a Premier League game at (Crystal) Palace, opposition will be looking at Liverpool without Salah and Mane and thinking there is a big drop-off.”

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson added: “The biggest worry tonight if I were a Liverpool fan? Salah and Mane. If they play tonight, it’s a different story.

“You can take two players out of Manchester City’s team, doesn’t really make a difference. Take two out of Chelsea, not really. Take two out of Liverpool, it’s completely different.”

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Source : Sky Sports