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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ‘could not care less’ about criticism of failed title defence

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at critics of Liverpool‘s title defence as he insists injuries are to blame for their below-par season.

The Reds sit sixth in the Premier League at present, 22 points behind bitter rivals Manchester City at the top of the standings – although they have a game in hand on Thursday night when they host Chelsea.

Liverpool’s form is in stark contrast to the previous campaign where they swept all before them to win their first top-flight title in 30 years.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended their poor title defence, hitting back at critics

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended their poor title defence, hitting back at critics

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended their poor title defence, hitting back at critics

Liverpool sit 22 points behind table-toppers Manchester City in a title defence to forget

Liverpool sit 22 points behind table-toppers Manchester City in a title defence to forget

Liverpool sit 22 points behind table-toppers Manchester City in a title defence to forget

Joe Gomez (left) and Virgil van Dijk are two long-term injury absentees for Liverpool at present

Joe Gomez (left) and Virgil van Dijk are two long-term injury absentees for Liverpool at present

Joe Gomez (left) and Virgil van Dijk are two long-term injury absentees for Liverpool at present

This term is a complete role reversal to last season when Liverpool were 22 points clear of City, who were second, after 26 matches.

The Anfield outfit have been hit by an unprecedented amount of injuries – with the crux of those at centre back.

First-choice trio Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all out with long-term injuries. This has seen captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, both midfielders, fill in at the position but they too are currenrly injured. As a result, Klopp paired January loan signing Ozan Kabak with youngster Nathaniel Phillips during their 2-0 win at struggling Sheffield United on Sunday.

Such are Liverpool’s injury woes that they top the Premier League charts in terms of the overall number of days players have been out this season through injury and illness. According to Premier Injuries have gone 1,029 days without a fully-fit squad, totalling everyone’s absences, which is 168 more than Crystal Palace who are second on this list.

And speaking to Sky Sports, Klopp pointed to this as an underlying reason for their struggles domestically.

‘Most of the problems are as a result of the injury situation,’ he said.

Nathaniel Phillips (centre left) and Ozan Kabak (right) started at centre back on Sunday night

Nathaniel Phillips (centre left) and Ozan Kabak (right) started at centre back on Sunday night

Nathaniel Phillips (centre left) and Ozan Kabak (right) started at centre back on Sunday night

‘This year we have faced completely new problems. I have never in my life – and I have been doing the job for 20 years – had to change the last line every week.

‘I am a much better manager this season than I was before because usually you are not having to think about these things but now I am having to think about them constantly.

‘We had a situation on Friday night. We trained all week, or the few days that we had to train, with one specific line-up and then overnight we had to change it completely. That is another big thing to do that is common in football but we have had it plenty of times.

‘People might say that is an excuse. I could not care less, to be honest. We do not use it as an excuse but if you ask me the question then it is the explanation for why things changed.’

Klopp could be set to change his defence once more on Thursday but in a positive manner with Fabinho set to play against Chelsea. A muscle issue had kept Fabinho out of the Reds’ last four matches but speaking on Wednesday, Klopp revealed he has now overcome the problem.

‘Fab has now five or six sessions in his legs and we have to make a decision how we deal with that, but he looks good and is ready for the squad for sure,’ he said at his pre-match press conference.

Klopp's options should be bolstered by Fabinho's return (left) who has been out through injury

Klopp's options should be bolstered by Fabinho's return (left) who has been out through injury

Klopp’s options should be bolstered by Fabinho’s return (left) who has been out through injury

Source: Daily

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