Defensive problems mounting up for Klopp as Matip joins injury absentees

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is down to the bare bones in defence ahead of their Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

On the eve of the first leg at Anfield, Joel Matip was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a thigh injury which is likely to require surgery, and with fellow centre-back Ragnar Klavan also sidelined and Joe Gomez a few weeks from recovering from an ankle injury options at the back are limited.

No wonder Klopp jokingly appealed for anyone at his pre-match press conference who could play centre-back to make themselves known to him.

“If there is a centre-half in the room I am open for talks,” he said.

“Joel is out for the rest of the season. Very serious of course. We still don’t know 100 per cent why.

“In the game (at Crystal Palace on Saturday) when it happened he felt something but he felt he could carry on.

“He should be back for the start of pre-season. It is a big blow. He is a very good player and we need him.

“He was surprised, he didn’t think it was that serious and no-one thought that until we saw the scan.

“At the same moment we miss Ragnar, which is not serious but serious enough to be a big doubt for tomorrow, and we have no chance to take the risk as the season has not finished.

“We need to be sensible and make the right decision. The starting line-up, as long as nothing else happens, is completely fine but it has cost us a few options to change.”

Midfielder Emre Can is unlikely to make the game as the back problem which forced him to miss Germany’s two friendlies and the trip to Selhurst Park has not fully cleared up.

However, Klopp offered some hope that England midfielder Adam Lallana, who suffered a hamstring injury at the weekend just minutes after coming on as a substitute, could return ahead of the World Cup.

“Adam we have to see. It could have been worse but is bad enough,” he added.

“It means he is not available for the next weeks but I don’t want to finish (his) season now as there are a few weeks and there is a chance he could be back.

“Emre will at least be very close for tomorrow. He has a session today with the rehab close but it doesn’t look too good.”

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