Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said that the next year would be intense for players coming back from the World Cup with the German preparing his side for their trip to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.
Liverpool are in sixth place in the league standings after a disappointing start to the season and face a Villa side who have moved up to 12th after the appointment of Unai Emery as manager in October.
“For the players who played in the World Cup, the whole year will be incredibly intense,” Klopp told reporters on Friday following his side’s 3-2 fourth-round League Cup loss at Manchester City the previous evening.
“That’s really, really, really tough. We will have to see how we deal with that, and we will be really careful with the information we get.
“That makes planning really difficult for the next game because we were 100% clear what we want to do against City and then you have to change in the last second pretty much, that’s not cool but it’s the situation and that might happen against Villa as well so we need to be flexible.” Klopp said that midfielder James Milner, who was substituted after 38 minutes of the loss at City due to a hamstring injury, would be out for a couple of days along with forward Roberto Firmino who is struggling with a calf injury.
“Millie (Milner) didn’t get better since then he will be out for a couple of games. Same for Bobby (Firmino),” Klopp said.
“Trent (Alexander-Arnold) hopefully will be better. Hasn’t taken part in a full session yet.” Klopp added that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk are fine ahead of the Villa game.
Climb the table
Despite the defeat by City, Klopp found some elements of his side’s performance encouraging as they seek to climb up the league table.
“We have left a gap between us and much more exciting positions in the table. We have to chase. I saw good signs last night, I wasn’t happy with everything, our counter-press was pretty much non-existent, which I don’t like,” Klopp said.
“There is a lot to come, we don’t think about the break anymore. It’s a start for something new and building on the things we’ve done so far and knowing and expecting that we can do better - starting on Boxing Day.”