Liverpool FC

Jurgen Klopp explains why Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak aren't ready for Liverpool debuts

Ross Jackson
Feb 6, 2021, 10:00 AM GMT
Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to start both of his new centre-backs
Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to start both of his new centre-backs | Pool/Getty Images
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Liverpool's injury woes have been made no secret of over the course of this season - a factor which has undoubtedly impacted their maiden Premier League title defence.

The Reds have been without first-choice centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for the majority of the season, while the news Joel Matip would be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign saw Jurgen Klopp make a late delve into the transfer market.

Klopp has been discussing the potential involvement of Ben Davies this weekend
Klopp has been discussing the potential involvement of Ben Davies this weekend | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak arrived at Anfield on transfer deadline day, with the former named as an unused substitute in the loss to Brighton, while the latter's international clearance has now been received meaning he's ready for selection.

However, while many had expected the pair's arrival to negate the need for midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to drop into defence, the Liverpool boss doesn't seem so willing to throw them into the starting XI for this weekend's crunch tie with fellow title chasers Manchester City.

“Of course everything helps,” he told reporters, as reported by Goal. “Now we have different options and that’s good. [It is] the best news we could get.

“Now we have to make sure the new-boys get all the information they need as quick as possible. In another position you could say ‘come on, play, try, we will adapt to you’ but in the defence the things we do are really clear; it’s about holding the line, it’s about dropping in the right moment. There are a lot of things [we do] that teams do different.

Ozan Kabak has now received international clearance
Ozan Kabak has now received international clearance | INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images

“We will see how quick we can do it. Today is an important session for that, and then we will see what we will make.”

When asked if there was a chance the pair could both be handed their Liverpool debut's on Sunday, Klopp was steadfast in his response, replying: “No. If I don’t have to, no."

The clash at Anfield sees Liverpool go in search of both their first win and their first goal at Anfield in three matches.

The last time the Reds failed to score in three successive Anfield fixtures was way back in 1984, though Klopp believes it's his side's defensive display which could have a huge say in which side emerges victorious from their game with Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp's side have struggled with injuries this season
Jurgen Klopp's side have struggled with injuries this season | Pool/Getty Images

“We will try to do the right things,” he added. “These are special games. That’s how it is. But in the end it’s only three points.

“Obviously City are in a slightly different moment to us, and we should not forget that, but one thing is clear; if you don’t defend on the highest level against City then you don’t even have to think about getting anything from the game.

“But then there are moments where you have to be brave and that’s what we will try to be. There are other moments where you have to control – not the game, but the situation, and we wlll try that as well.

“The last time against City we had a good idea for about 25 minutes and then it became an open game again. That can happen.

Klopp's side face Pep Guardiola's men on Sunday
Klopp's side face Pep Guardiola's men on Sunday | Pool/Getty Images

“We had a home game here where I think [Kyle] Walker didn’t pass the halfway line! That was surprising, but still they had the chance to win it in the last minutes with [Riyad] Mahrez’s penalty.

“We all know how much supporters help. We always knew it. For a long, long time we could ignore it, result-wise, but not in the last few weeks. We have to make sure that atmosphere, good or bad, doesn’t make a difference.

“It’s a football game. They don’t have an atmosphere, we don’t have an atmosphere so let’s go for it with all we have.”

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