Former Kop star Stephen Warnock reckons Jurgen Klopp will surpass all his trophy achievements if his Liverpool stars retain their Premier League title.
Klopp’s champions are reeling after Joe Gomez suffered a serious knee injury in England training on top of losing defensive rock Virgil can Dijk who is likely to miss the rest of the season after Jordan Pickford’s challenge in the recent Mersey derby.
It’s a double hit that would destroy most teams.
But Warnock insists although it’s a hammer blow to their season, it would be rash to rule Liverpool out of back-to-back titles.
And he’s backing stars like Thiago, Alisson, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Liverpool’s devastating front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to get them out of trouble.
“It’s a big blow yes – but we shouldn’t be writing Liverpool off, oh God no – absolutely not,” says Warnock. “It’s early days, and the best teams always find a way to adapt to losing quality players.
“There is always an expectation on this Liverpool team to perform and maybe more so now because they are champions.
“Maybe because people are writing them off a little bit there isn’t such a huge expectation this time and especially not with these injuries.
“If Klopp fails people will say it’s because they’ve lost Virgil Van Dijk but if he wins the League again then he’s suddenly elevated his status and is an even better manager than before.
“And I’m sure that will be in the back of his mind. I’m sure that will be driving him on. He’ll be thinking ‘I’ll prove you all wrong’.
"People are writing Liverpool off mainly because of one player in Van Dijk. But don’t forget they have still got plenty of quality within the squad – no way are they the one man team that’s been suggested.
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It's been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp's men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk's season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson's injury worries too.
But there's no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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“And I’m thinking especially the addition of Thiago coming into the team. His arrival is big and he’s going to be playing a massive role when he’s fit.
“I don’t think Fabinho will be absent for too long. It’s a hamstring injury that might keep him out four or five weeks and I’m sure he’ll be back next month.
“Klopp may have to buy a defender in January but he has some options already with Joel Matip back fit.
"And with Thiago coming in as a world class central midfielder it allows Henderson to play in the back four because he’s already shown he can play as a centre half before.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how he goes about it after this latest blow but good managers and coaches adapt.
"And don’t forget, it’s not just Jurgen Klopp on his own. He’s got Pep Ljinders as well who is hugely influential in helping him behind the scenes.”
Liverpool’s defence might have been ravaged but Warnock still believes Klopp has an ace in the pack in goalkeeper Alisson.
He added: “There’s no denying Van Dijk was an important part of the jigsaw and has been the catalyst for their success.
“But don’t forget so was Alisson. His presence is massive. We have seen some of the saves Alisson has made
recently and how important he is to this Liverpool team.
“He was making those saves even with Van Dijk in front of him and don’t forget Liverpool were conceding goals with Van Dijk there this season so he wasn’t flawless.
“They were still susceptible at times but they are definitely not a one man team.
“How can you be when you have Salah and Mane winning games with their goals?”
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