Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp is looking ahead to the Premier League restart, with the level of optimism that befits the end of preseason/start of a new season.
“We have left a gap between us and much more exciting positions in the table,” Klopp said after the Reds fell 3-2 to Manchester City in the League Cup round of 16 last night.
Liverpool at Aston Villa FYIs
Competition: Boxing Day, Premier League Return
Kickoff: Tue Dec 26 5:30pm GMT, Villa Park
Liverpool Starting XI Prediction: go here
Google Probability: Liverpool Win 55% Draw 23% Aston Villa Win 22%
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
“We have to chase. I saw good signs last night, I wasn’t happy with everything, our counter-press was pretty much non-existent, which I don’t like,” Klopp said.
“There is a lot to come, we don’t think about the break anymore. It’s a start for something new and building on the things we’ve done so far and knowing and expecting that we can do better — starting on Boxing Day.”
With about six weeks off for the World Cup, this time period was indeed a second preseason. And Liverpool badly need a restart on their season, as they sit sixth in the table, seven points off the pace for the top four.
It all starts with a Boxing Day fixture at Aston Villa. While the team has seen some of their stars come back from injury over the break, they still have a list of fitness concerns for this clash.
Team News for Both Sides
Klopp revealed that he has a couple fresh injury concerns ahead of this match, with midfielder James Milner
(subbed off after 38 minutes yesterday with a hamstring injury), and forward Roberto Firmino (calf injury), both out for the next two matches.
“Millie [Milner] didn’t get better since then — he will be out for a couple of games. Same for Bobby [Firmino],” the German said.
“Trent [Alexander-Arnold] hopefully will be better. Hasn’t taken part in a full session yet.”
So TAA is a doubt while Luis Diaz (knee), Diogo Jota (thigh), Arthur Melo (thigh) all remain out of action with long term injuries. Elsewhere while Curtis Jones is almost fit and should feature over the festive period at some point down the line.
Speaking on Wednesday, assistant manager Pep Ljinders said: “Curtis is one week away from team training.”
Switching over to the Villans, Diego Carlos is out with an Achilles injury.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.