Jurgen Klopp has indicated that Dejan Lovren is unlikely to return to fitness in time to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, as reported by the Reds’ official website.
As quoted in the aforementioned report, the Anfield boss said of the sidelined centre-back, “Dejan had no chance for the game today [against Bayern Munich] actually, I don’t think he even has a chance for the next game. He will take his time.”
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With Virgil van Dijk also unavailable for the Champions League last 16 clash with the Bundesliga giants, Brazilian midfielder Fabinho was called upon to fill in in the heart of the defence alongside Joel Matip.
Though van Dijk will be eligible to play against the Red Devils this weekend, with Lovren and Joe Gomez still sidelined, Klopp’s squad will be put under strain to get through their crucial upcoming fixtures unscathed.
With Manchester City in the league title race picture, Liverpool cannot afford to slip up against their bitter rivals at Old Trafford. However, Matip is far from the Reds’ most reliable defender, and could easily prove a weak link against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resurgent United side.
Klopp will be desperately hoping that he gets away with fielding Matip again, as he did on Tuesday. However, the return of 29-year-old Lovren cannot come soon enough.
At this stage in the season, Liverpool’s squad cannot afford to become fatigued or overstretched. If their lack of quality defensive depth proves their undoing this weekend, then it could haunt them for the rest of the campaign and break fans’ hearts.