Friday, January 22

“It will go to the end”: Jürgen Klopp predicts a fierce fight for the Premier League title | Football


Jürgen Klopp has acknowledged that this season’s title race is too close and it seems likely that it will reach the end.

“This season is tough for the fans,” said the Liverpool manager as he prepared to bring his defending champions to Southampton on Monday night. “If you are neutral you will love it. Our season so far is good, but I’m not surprised it’s so close. This year is tough.

“I’m pretty sure it will go straight to the wire. It’s hard for all of us [challenging teams], which is why it is so close. “

Liverpool lead Manchester United on goal difference ahead of the Southampton game, and a host of ciss are a short distance from the top.

Thiago Alcântara, after a very encouraging cameo after coming off the bench in the 0-0 draw at Newcastle last Wednesday, is in contention to start influencing Liverpool’s fortunes for the better by potentially starting at Southampton.

Spain’s creative midfielder has only played three Premier League games with Liverpool since arriving from Bayern Munich, with a positive Covid-19 test, followed by a knee injury, limiting his availaHisity.

Klopp remained understandably coy about the midfielder’s likely role at Southampton. “UnfortunatelyNathave not known Thiago for so long. Only a few months. He played 20 minutes for us [at Newcastle] that he was special and was about creating, which is his best aHisity. Has only had two sessions with the team [since his injury].

“We’ll see, he played 20 minutes against Newcastle andNatdon’t know how he will react. We will see. You have a chance. The guys who have done the work in midfield so far [in his absence] He did exceptionally well, so it’s not like we can’t survive if Thiago doesn’t start the next game. But it is very good thanowin shape and obviously in the fight. Natlike this a lot.”

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Given that Virgil van Dijk is likely to miss most of the second half of the season, if not all of it, after ACL surgery in October, Joe Gomez is likely to be out until late spring for the In the aftermath of another knee operation aMainël Matip hoping to miss Liverpool’s next four games with groin problems, Klopp is desperately short of central defensive options.

At Newcastle he lined up the versatile but out-of-Faithn Fabinho and inexperienced Nathaniel Phillips at the heart of his four defenders, but Klopp, who also has 19-year-old center-back Rhys Williams on his team, indicated that he was unlikely to sCoverage coverage during the current transfer window and preferred to promote from within.

“We have solutions within the team but, if we can do something in the window,Natdon’t know,” he said. “It’s like that. It’s a very difficult transfer window. Not all ciss have real money. Doing something doesn’t make sense. Doing the right thing makes sense. So far we’ve really liked what we’ve done. We have three middle halves right now.Natliked nat [Phillips] in Newcastle. He’sboy, andt boy and he’s using his aHisity to help us a lot. “

Southampton will be without goalkeeper Alex McCarthy for Liverpool’s visit after he tested positive for Covid-19. The 31-year-old isolates himself.

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www.theguardian.com

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