Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk will NOT play in Liverpool’s must-win clash at Southampton, insists Jurgen Klopp with Champions League final looming… but Reds boss expects them to play some part against Wolves on Sunday
- Liverpool will not risk Mohamed Salah or Virgil van Dijk at St Mary’s on Tuesday
- Salah has not recovered from the groin issue that forced him off in FA Cup final
- Van Dijk was substituted at the end of 90 minutes at Wembley on Saturday
- Jurgen Klopp is confident both will be ready for Real Madrid in Paris on May 28
Jurgen Klopp will not risk Mo Salah or Virgil van Dijk for Tuesday night’s crucial match at Southampton.
Salah has not recovered from the groin issue that forced him off during the first half of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea while Van Dijk, who was substituted at the end of 90 minutes, will also be absent with Klopp adamant he cannot take a risk on their fitness given the quick turnaround after Wembley.
He is confident, however, that both men will be ready to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.
Jurgen Klopp will not risk Mo Salah (R) or Virgil van Dijk (L) for vital match at Southampton
‘We thought this was the game (to leave van Dijk out) because he played really a lot,’ said Klopp. ‘Saturday-Tuesday again was clear. They are both OK… The target for both would be that they could be involved again at the weekend (against Wolves). Properly involved.
‘On the bench and on for a few minutes or start – we will see that. They would have to be perfect for the game, if not then we take each day afterwards. It is very positive about them. I have no doubt about the final. I am pretty realistic about the Wolves game – but (Southampton) not.’
A win would take Liverpool to within a point of leaders City and even if they avoid defeat, there would still be a slim chance of them being able to win the title on the final day and Klopp has promised they will ‘go for it with everything we have’.
The hunger within Liverpool’s squad to get more trophies is huge and James Milner, who collected the 10th honour of his career at the weekend, explained he has been drumming in the importance to his team-mates of the need to savour this campaign.
‘I went in the dressing room and all the lads are straight on their phones,’ he said. ‘I was like “We’ve just won the FA Cup!” You’re lucky to play in a final; you’re lucky to be a footballer in the first place. To play in finals and win 10 medals? If you said that at the start of my career, I’d have taken it.’
Klopp will look to further strengthen his Liverpool squad this summer but one player he has ruled out signing is Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe after admitting they would not be able to meet the financial demands.
Salah has not recovered from the groin issue that forced him off during first half of FA Cup win
Van Dijk was substituted at the end of 90 minutes against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday
Mbappe, the outstanding France international, is a player Klopp has been watching closely since his emergence at Monaco and enquired about his availability in the summer of 2017 after Liverpool returned to the Champions League.
The 23-year-old is out of contract this summer and is expected to leave PSG, with Real Madrid the most likely destination. Klopp, however, has revealed that Liverpool discussed the prospect of whether they would be able to make a deal happen.
There is a mutual respect between Mbappe and Klopp but the chances of them working together at Anfield are no longer possible after the German explained why – even though France’s Player of the Year is available on a Bosman – it will not happen.
‘Of course we are interested in Kylian Mbappe – we are not blind,’ said Klopp.
When asked if Liverpool had made direct contact with Mbappe, he added: ‘Actually, I have nothing to say about that but between Kylian and Liverpool, it’s all set, it’s all fine. We of course like him and if you don’t like him then you have to question yourself.
‘But, no, we are not (going to sign him), we cannot be part of these battles. There must be other clubs involved and that is fine. He is a great player.’
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