Klopp set to make key Liverpool change, plots life without talisman and hints at Coutinho return

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended his backline amid ongoing criticism of their performances after another leaky display in midweek.

The Merseyside giants have conceded eight goals in four Premier League games so far this season, and saw Sevilla score twice to deny them in their Champions League group stage clash.

Dejan Lovren was guilty of another mistake against the Spanish outfit, but it’s a problem across the backline along with the goalkeeper that Liverpool haven’t got enough quality defensively to suggest that they can compete for major trophies this season.

However, Klopp has stood by his players and insisted that it’s a negative being highlighted by the media right now, but it doesn’t count the number of solid performances that they’ve also produced.

“Our fault is that we give you all the opportunity to talk about [defensive mistakes],” he told the media, as reported by Sky Sports. “It’s a lack of concentration. For a defender, it is like a goalkeeper. You can play a world-class game but have one wrong moment. It is not a quality thing.

“It looks like we’re talking about this all the time. We cannot take the five goals out from City, but if we could do it, we’ve had a lot of games with decent defensive performances. We are always looking for one thing we can be angry about or unhappy with.”

Klopp also heavily suggested that Simon Mignolet will be back between the posts this weekend, while he also explained his plan to deal with Sadio Mane’s three-game suspension as his absence could be costly given his form and importance to the team dating back to last season.

“Simon Mignolet is No.1. At the end of the season, he will have 80% games. We need strong goalkeepers. We can’t find a new No.2 or No.3 every year.

“Roberto [Firmino] has already played left wing and of course Phil [Coutinho] can play there. Alex [Oxlade-Chamberlain] can play there. We have more options so it’s good, we can change the system.”

Meanwhile, the Liverpool boss also hinted at a Premier League return for Philippe Coutinho, who has yet to feature for the Reds domestically this season following on from his failed transfer push to join Barcelona and a reported back injury.

Having handed in a transfer request last month, the Brazilian playmaker didn’t get his move to Spain, and having made his first appearance of the season against Sevilla on Wednesday night, he’s in line to get back to work in the league too.

“He should be ready. It was really nice how the crowd welcomed him. I don’t think anyone was 100 per cent sure about this and I’m really happy that we, as a Liverpool family, were sensitive enough to do it like this. He has trained outstandingly in the few sessions we’ve had together so far since he’s been back.”

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