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Jurgen Klopp talks up "proper player" Jamie Vardy

Jurgen Klopp talks up
© Reuters
The German could be without 10 players.

Manager Jurgen Klopp is maintaining a long-term view on Liverpool’s season as he ignores the crisis talk which is growing outside the club.

With up to 10 players injured or unavailable – including the likes of Mohamed Salah (coronavirus), Virgil Van Dijk (knee) and captain Jordan Henderson – there is a perception his side’s defence of their Premier League title could be in jeopardy already.

However, the Reds boss insists there are solutions to be had.

“We don’t go for excuses because it is really hard for the boys who have the injuries but the rest is working for a solution and we have solutions in mind,” said Klopp, who admits they are having to balance the demands placed on the players who are fit.

“Maybe we think it is the worst situation possible but the season is long and we’ve only played eight games.

“The team who deals with the problems best has the best chance of being successful.

“We are constantly in the thought process of how can we use the players in the right way because our target it always long term, it is never short term.

“We have short-term targets but the main target is long term. We need them, without the players we are nothing, that’s why we are really careful or as careful as we can be.”

Liverpool host Leicester, top of the table heading into the weekend, on Sunday.

The Foxes – and striker Jamie Vardy specifically – present the biggest threat to Klopp’s side setting two new club records: one being 64 home league games unbeaten and the other of scoring in 39 successive top-fight league matches at Anfield.

Vardy is the Premier League’s joint top scorer this season with eight, having won the Golden Boot last season with 23, and is one of only eight men to have scored seven Premier League goals against Liverpool, in just 11 appearances, with only Andy Cole (11) and Thierry Henry (eight) having scored more.

He has scored 38 Premier League goals against ‘big six’ teams since August 2014 and this season he already has a hat-trick against Manchester City and scored the winner at Arsenal, with Leicester, managed by former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, only one of two teams to take a point off Liverpool in the last 38 league games at Anfield.

Klopp is well aware of the threat Vardy poses, especially against his under-strength defence, and knows denying the former England international service will be key.

“It’s incredible and how he uses (his speed) and how smart he is, how he has adapted his game over the years,” said the German.

“He is a massive threat for everyone, he really gambles in a good way with the last line, taking the risk in these situations and his technical level is really good.

“Jamie is a proper player and it always a challenge to defend him and the only way I know to defend him is to make sure he doesn’t get the pass he wants so that means we have to defend all the others as well.

“Leicester showed last year how good they can be and this year they are doing so again.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy has scored seven goals in 11 appearances against Leicester
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored seven goals in 11 appearances against Leicester (Michael Regan/PA)

“They changed their style slightly because of the injuries they had and they did really well with it and it was a good example of how to deal with an injury ‘crisis’.

“They have a clear idea how they want to play and they are contenders for everything. This year they are more experienced in the situation.”


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