Jurgen Klopp has discussed how he plans to cope with Mohamed Salah’s absence at Liverpool, after the forward’s departure to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool’s leading scorer has joined up with Egypt for the competition and could miss up to seven games in all competitions, including this weekend’s FA Cup third-round tie at Arsenal.
Salah is the joint-leading scorer (14) and assist provider (8) in the Premier League this season and will represent a major loss to the Reds, who continue to compete on all fronts and face an EFL Cup semi-final first leg with Fulham in midweek.
On how he plans to deal with Salah’s absence, Klopp told his pre-match press conference: “We played against West Ham without Mo on that right side and Harvey [Elliott] played there. We have different offensive options who can all play that wing in a different way.
“No-one else who plays that wing should try to play like Mo, it’s not possible, so we just have to find another way and use the boys to their skills.
“Do you want to play without Mo? No. In the past we didn’t have to do it that often but we always found a way to get through these periods.
“I am pretty sure we will be fine but of course we play at Arsenal. At Arsenal you can lose with Mo Salah, so it is possible as well that we lose without him. But in the moment we have a chance to win the game so I think we should more think about that.”
On his parting words for Salah and Wataru Endo, who will join up with Japan for the Asian Cup, Klopp said he begrudgingly wished both players good luck at their upcoming tournaments.
“I said if I wish you good luck it would be a lie. From a personal point of view, I would not be overly unhappy if they went out in the group stage, but it is probably not possible.
“But no, it’s fine, of course I would be happy for them to go on and win it. I said good luck and come back healthy – that is pretty much the words and that is it. Now we have to deal with it and we will deal with it. I am pretty positive we will find a way but obviously we have to show that on the pitch.”