With the debate raging about Liverpool’s defensive issues, it is in attack that they will be without a key man this weekend against Burnley as Sadio Mané begins his three game suspension for his controversial challenge on Ederson Marais last Saturday.
Liverpool appealed the ban in an attempt to reduce it, but were unsuccessful, meaning he will also be missing for both matches against Leicester City next week.
Changes will be expected to be made from the team that drew with Sevilla in the Champions League midweek, with Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold among those who could potentially come into the side.
Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are still both out with injuries. The former could return to training early next week, but not with the team, whilst there is no set date for the latter, who could be out until Christmas.
Burnley beat Crystal Palace last weekend in what proved to be Frank de Boer’s final game before he was sacked, with new signing Chris Wood scoring the winning goal. He has been in good form since arriving from Leeds United for £15 million as a replacement for Andre Gray, who went to Watford.
The Clarets were fortunate to get all three points last time out, though, as manager Sean Dyche admitted afterwards, with Palace missing a plethora of golden opportunities, but they did deservedly beat Chelsea on the opening day at Stamford Bridge to equal their total of away victories from the whole of last season.
They also have a familiar foe among their ranks in the form of Jon Walters, the former Stoke City man who grew up supporting Everton.
He has scored seven goals in fourteen matches against the Reds – a one-in-two ratio – compared to a career ratio of less than one-in-five, although he is yet to start for his new team.
Jurgen Klopp was asked primarily about the lack of Mané during his press conference, but he is not concerned.
“We knew there would be moments when Sadio wouldn’t play, that’s why we built the squad. Roberto (Firmino), Phil (Coutinho) and Alex (Oxlade-Chamberlain) can play on the left.
“It’s always difficult to replace top class players, but we did it well towards the end of last season (when Mane was out injured)”.
Klopp was also asked about the defensive situation, which he has come under fire for.
“It’s our mistakes. The first goal the other night there were five mistakes before the final mistake. It’s a lack of concentration [but] we had a lot of games with decent defending performances”.
On his goalkeeping situation, with Loris Karius coming in for Champions League games and Simon Mignolet in for league fixtures, Klopp said, “Simon is number one. At the end of the season he will probably have played 85 or 87% of all the games”.
On Coutinho, he added, “He should be ready. No one was 100% sure how the crowd would be (when he came on against Sevilla, after the summer speculation). He has been outstanding in the sessions since coming back”.
Klopp knows that Burnley will be a tough team to break down, and Coutinho is likely to play a large role if Liverpool succeed.
“They have four points from Chelsea and Tottenham so nobody should consider this game easy. Maybe the best game we played against them we lost 2-0. If we are all ready for work, it can be really good,” he said.
Liverpool will be looking to make it three home league wins out of three this season, having already dispatched Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
WHEN DOES THE GAME KICK OFF?
The match starts at 15:00 BST.
WHO IS THE REFEREE?
Roger East – this is only his second Premier League appointment of the season, having taken charge of Bournemouth versus Watford last weekend.
He did not referee either side in the league last season. The last time he saw Liverpool play was a 3-1 defeat at Swansea just prior to the Europa League final in 2016, when Liverpool made eleven changes.
Burnley have won only once in their last 23 away fixtures against Liverpool, losing the last nine matches in a row.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Coutinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Sturridge, Firmino
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Gudmondsson, Cork, Defour, Brady; Wood, Vokes
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