Tetchy Klopp says Liverpool will cope without Van Dijk

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Everton v Liverpool
FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Everton v Liverpool

(Reuters) - Frustrated Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp dismissed suggestions his side would struggle to cope without central defender Virgil van Dijk after the Dutchman suffered a serious knee injury in the Merseyside derby at the weekend.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's clash at Ajax Amsterdam in their opening Champions League fixture, Klopp was in combative mood when asked about the absent Van Dijk.

"Why should I think the boys cannot deal with the situation?" Klopp said. "Obviously you all think we'll struggle, we have to prove you wrong when I'm not interested in that.

"I am only interested in the best for LFC. We try that now. Next few weeks will calm you all down."

Centre back Joel Matip and Thiago both missed training on Tuesday and are unlikely to feature, adding to Liverpool's problems ahead of their first meeting with Ajax since 1966.

"Yes, we're here without VVD and Matip but still we will give it a try. Three weeks ago they said we would run away with it, now we're not in contention for anything," Klopp added.

Asked about the wild tackle from Everton keeper Jordan Pickford that injured Van Dijk, Klopp was still clearly angry that Pickford escaped punishment.

"I am here for a Champions League game but you ask these questions. And now everyone will judge us," Klopp said.

"We didn't do anything wrong in the game but we are still the ones who suffer. It doesn't feel right, it's not easy. We accept injuries but it should be in a normal challenge.

"We are still a bit sensitive with the situation which is why we're in a different mood to you. We've known since yesterday the best centre back in the world is not with us."

Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum said Van Dijk's injury had stunned the squad.

"Of course we are upset," Wijnaldum told reporters. "The way Pickford went into the challenge was completely, in my opinion, stupid. I believe that he didn't want to injure Virgil the way he injured him, but the way he took the tackle, he didn't care about what happened after the tackle."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)