Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has Divock Origi boost after ‘clear’ Salah and Mane question

Liverpool v Arsenal pictures

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed that Divock Origi has stepped up his recovery from injury as the German bemoaned ‘crystal clear’ questions about Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the aftermath of the Reds drawing a blank against Arsenal. 

Klopp’s side failed to score in their EFL Cup semi-final clash with the Gunners, which raised further questions over their ability to find the net without their star forwards.  

Salah and Mane, alongside midfielder Naby Keita, are missing for the best part of the month as they compete at the Africa Cup of Nations.  

And their absence was felt as Liverpool struggled to break down the stubborn 10 men of Arsenal in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final at Anfield.

The Reds failed to make the most of Granit Xhaka’s early red card, managing just a single shot on target. Takumi Minamino also skied over from close range when the ball fell his way in the penalty area. 

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Klopp has revealed that he has been given a boost, though, in the form of Origi. The Belgian is nearing a return from a knee injury having not featured since scoring against AC Milan on December 7. 

Origi has scored five times this season across all competitions and seems the likeliest to find the net in the absence of Salah and Mane.  

“It’s likely we could see him soon,” Klopp confirmed about Origi’s availability. “Yesterday he was outside running and looked really good. He will not be too far away.” 

Klopp admitted that he knew it would be ‘crystal clear’ that questions about Salah and Mane would arrive after the draw with Arsenal.

The result hands the north Londoners a big boost as they host the second leg.  

But the 54-year-old does not think the absence of his African trio played much of a role in the stalemate, with their pace likely to have been ineffective against Arsenal’s deep defence.   

“It was crystal clear I’d be asked about Sadio and Mo after we didn’t score last night. There’s nothing bad to say about Sadio and Mo. Naby one of the best midfielders I’ve seen,” Klopp insisted.  

“Last night we didn’t miss speed, that was not the problem. They (Arsenal) were so deep, so where could we run? We have to build on how we started. 

“With the sending off, the change, playing versus 10 all of a sudden, it felt like a rush which made no sense.

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“We won’t write it off. All in life is about experience. We got very important information from last night, it wasn’t the most exciting game. We will learn from it and we will use it.” 

He added: “The only way you can avoid those questions is [by] scoring. The situation is clear, they are not here and they are world class players.  

“We had some struggles against 10 men when Mo and Sadio were in the team. 

“We were not good enough in certain moments but nothing to do with who is not here.”
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