Gomez to remain on sidelines as Klopp says leg may need more surgery
Liverpool defender has been absent 10 weeks and February 19th game not ‘a realistic target’
Liverpool’s manager Juergen Klopp during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Leicester City and Burton Albion held at the Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, on Wednesday. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA
Gomez has been out since fracturing his lower left leg at Burnley on December 5th. The 21-year-old was expected to be absent for six weeks but, almost 10 weeks later, his manager has conceded the Champions League first leg against Bayern Munich on February 19th is not “a realistic target”. Liverpool also fear Dejan Lovren has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury, with the central defender almost certain to miss Monday’s visit to West Ham.
The unfortunate Gomez, who missed last season’s Champions League final and World Cup following ankle surgery, has been seeing a specialist during his latest rehabilitation. He is expected to visit a specialist again to assess whether more surgery is needed.
“It is not exactly going how we want – that’s how it is,” Klopp said. “He needs more time. We will see exactly how we do it. There were different moments we thought we could do this or that but it will take time.”
Klopp has responded to Kyle Walker trolling Liverpool on Twitter by insisting it is unacceptable to mock fellow professionals for dropping points.
The Manchester City defender tweeted, then deleted, a meme of Harry Maguire along with the caption: “So basically they thought they were gonna go 7 points ahead ...” after Leicester’s 1-1 draw at Anfield. Klopp said: “I never celebrated another team dropping points or losing a game. For me that’s not allowed . . . For supporters it’s a bit different. For people involved I don’t understand it.”
While no stranger to revelling in Liverpool victories, Klopp drew a distinction with celebrating another’s disappointment. He believes that should be the preserve of supporters and not professionals.
The Liverpool manager said of Walker’s tweet: “I cannot help that. I’m not sure what that says about us, it says a bit more about the other person. I never celebrated another team dropping points or losing a game. For me that’s not allowed. I never ask anybody to clear one side of the pitch and leave the other in the mud.
“It’s sport, you have to do your own thing and try to show your best performance. I don’t understand it. For supporters it’s a bit different. For people involved I don’t understand it. But how can I criticise if I don’t understand it?”
Klopp’s reference to the pitch concerned criticism of Liverpool for their ground-staff clearing snow from only one half during Wednesday’s interval. Snow was cleared from the end that Liverpool were attacking in the second half but left untouched in the half Leicester had to attack. The Liverpool manager denied it was a result of gamesmanship.
“The situation was like everybody saw,” he explained. “When we were warming up it started snowing, but the pitch was completely okay. Then we went in, and when we came out it was like full of hail or wet snow. The pitch was difficult. The first half we had 80 per cent of the ball so only one team suffered and it was us. It was clear that our ground staff tried to clear it but they didn’t have enough man power. They realised how difficult it was when they started doing it, not before. There was no plan, nobody told them, I can swear, to clear only our side or our box.
“I hear people say it’s unsporting but it’s an advantage for them [Leicester] too. If their box is clear then it’s better to defend. It’s no coincidence that in the first half we scored a goal in a box that was full of snow. That’s how it is, we cannot change it.”
The Liverpool manager also confirmed Trent Alexander-Arnold will not be back from injury in time for Monday’s trip to West Ham.
Asked if what the full-back did might gee up Liverpool, the City manager added: “I don’t think so. The motivation is to win games … [it] won’t be about one tweet or another.”