Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp explains why Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies may have to wait before making their Reds debut
The Reds face Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday and could be boosted by the return of a number of key players after injury and illness.
Jurgen Klopp admits he is unlikely to launch new signings Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies deep within Liverpool against Manchester City this weekend.
The Reds face the Premier League leaders at Anfield on Sunday knowing anything but a win would spell the end of their fading title hopes.
Klopp’s side are currently in fourth place, seven points behind City, who also have a game in hand against their rivals.
Liverpool could be boosted by the return of key players for the game. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker and striker Sadio Mane returned to training in Kirkby on Friday after missing the midweek loss to Brighton due to illness and injury respectively, while Fabinho is also in contention after a muscle problem.
They also have two new center-backs to consider, with Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak having arrived on the transfer deadline day.
Davies was on the bench against Brighton while Klopp confirmed on Friday that Kabak’s international clearance had been received, meaning the Turkey international is available for selection on Sunday.
The Reds boss, however, issued a note of caution when it was suggested the pair could both feature in the game.
“Of course, anything helps,” he told reporters. “Now we have different options and that’s good. [It is] the best news we could have.
“Now we need to make sure that new boys get all the information they need as quickly as possible. In another position, you might say “come on, play, try, we will adapt to you”, but in defense, the things we do are very clear; it’s about holding the line, it’s about falling at the right time. There are many things [we do] that teams do differently.
“We’ll see how quickly we can do it. Today is an important session for that, and then we’ll see what we’re going to do.
When asked if he was ready to play his two new signings together, Klopp replied, “No. If I don’t have to, no.
Klopp admits Sunday’s game will likely be decided by how his team defend. City come to Merseyside on a 13-game winning streak in all competitions – the first England team to achieve such a feat since Arsenal in 2002.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2012 and have failed to score in three successive Anfield encounters for the first time since 1984.
“We’re going to try to do the right things,” Klopp said. “These are special games. It’s like that. But in the end, it’s only three points.
“Obviously City is at a slightly different time than us, and we shouldn’t forget that, but one thing is clear; if you’re not defending at the highest level against City, you don’t even have to think about getting anything from the game.
“But there are times when you have to be brave and that’s what we’ll try to be. There are other times when you need to be in control – not the game, but the situation, and we’ll try that too.
“The last time against City we had a good idea for about 25 minutes and then it was back to an open game. It can happen.
“We had a home game here where I think [Kyle] Walker didn’t cross the halfway line! It was surprising, but they still had the chance to win it in the dying minutes with [Riyad] Mahrez penalty.
“We all know how much the supporters help. We always knew it. For a long, long time, we’ve been able to ignore it, in terms of results, but not in the last few weeks. We have to make sure that the atmosphere, good or bad, doesn’t make any difference.
“It’s a football game. They don’t have an atmosphere, we don’t have an atmosphere, so let’s go with whatever we have.