“Why should I?” Klopps annoying confirmation
The international break has fulfilled all dark expectations – and on Saturday in Huddersfield a curious curse threatens Jürgen Klopp and FC Liverpool.
“The Nations League is the most pointless competition in the world,” Jürgen Klopp had cursed before the two international match weeks. But now that they are over, he should have changed his mind: Isn’t the African Cup qualification the most pointless competition in the world? Or at least as pointless as the Nations League, oh, like all those pointless international games at all?
The international break has certainly fulfilled all the expectations the Liverpool coach had of them: Mohamed Salah had to be replaced with muscular problems, Sadio Mané had a broken thumb operation; Virgil van Dijk returned prematurely from the Dutch national team after hitting Germany with two broken ribs; and Naby Keita had to be carried off the pitch in his mission for Guinea, i.e. by a team-mate, because otherwise nothing and nobody was available.
And because James Milner had also contracted a thigh brace just before the international break, Liverpool suddenly faces an emergency on Saturday in Huddersfield (6.30 p.m., on DAZN) – and Klopp doesn’t even think of resolving it at all: “I understand that you all want to know (who is operational in Huddersfield, d.Red.). But I never get any injury information from other teams,” he is quoted on the LFC website. “So why should I trombone them out into the world?
How big is Liverpool’s need? Wagner knows about Klopp’s “smoke candles
So the local media must give the all-clear: Keita might have been out for two weeks, but Salah and van Dijk had already trained again – especially since van Dijk has been playing with this injury for weeks, which Bonds coach Ronald Koeman has only now outed as a double rib fracture. The central defender had recently taken “regular” painkillers, Koeman said. And because Mané and Milner (who Klopp, like Salah, has played in all eleven compulsory games so far) do not seem to be out of the question either, Huddersfield coach David Wagner might be right. “I’ve known Jürgen long enough to know that he loves to light smoke candles,” Klopps had said on Thursday.
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Huddersfield, sensationally relegated in the previous season, is third last after eight matchdays without victory and with only three points and four goals. But this is apparently less a reason for Wagner to get nervous (“We have the feeling that we can keep up, everything is still close together”) than for Klopp: “Since he took over in Anfield three years ago, Liverpool has only won six out of 19 matches against teams that were on a relegation spot (6/7/6). Most recently, the performances in Swansea (January 22, 0:1), West Bromwich (April 21, 2:2) and against Stoke (April 28, 0:0) fed this curious curse – all three relegated afterwards. So it’s a little too early for schedule warning for third place, who have already played against Tottenham, Chelsea and ManCity.
By the way, the hosts will have to do without the injured Tommy Smith, Terence Kongolo and the ex-Hoffenheimer Danny Williams against Liverpool. Wagner had announced this in detail on Thursday.