Mohamed Salah is going home after Liverpool’s Premier League match against Newcastle on Monday to represent Egypt in the African Cup of Nations.
As they aim to win their first championship since 2020, Liverpool leads Arsenal by two points at the top.
The timing of Salah’s absence could not be worse as they also play Fulham in the League Cup semi-finals in January and Arsenal in the FA Cup third round.
With 16 goals this season, he leads Liverpool in scoring. If Egypt advances far in the competition, Klopp may have to cover a significant gap due to his absence in the Ivory Coast, which may last more than a month.
“It is not the first time, it is a really at least very average situation that you lose your goal scorer but we had it even worse in the past when Sadio (Mane) and Mo left,” Klopp said to reporters on Friday.
“We came somehow through it and traditionally one of them went pretty far in the tournament, which made it worse.”
In addition, Wataru Endo, a midfielder for Japan, will not be available for Klopp’s team while Salah is away playing in the Asia Cup.
We were aware that Mo would occasionally have to travel for the Africa Cup of Nations, and that Endo would also be competing in the Asia Cup, so things are as they are. Klopp stated, “We have to and will deal with it.”
“Every long-term strategy I could have had is heavily dependent on who’s available. We would have answers today, and maybe we will have them following the Newcastle match as well.”
Diogo Jota, a Portugal international who scored a comeback goal against Burnley on Boxing Day, is returning after missing a month due to injury.
Because of his versatility, Jota and Cody Gakpo can play anywhere in the forward line, and Harvey Elliott, who is more of a midfielder in Klopp’s system, has filled Salah’s role on the pitch.
“It’s crucial that all of the boys return, but Diogo in particular. To be honest, I don’t think we had it that much, but everyone was really enthusiastic about our five alternatives,” Klopp remarked.
“Especially with the amount of games we play it is so important these boys can rotate and now with Mo leaving and Endo leaving we need everyone to get back.”
But it now looks like Andy Robertson, the left-back for Liverpool, will miss the entire month of January while he heals from a dislocated shoulder.
The Scotland captain, who hasn’t played since October, is anticipated to play again in January.
“Robbo still requires additional shoulder range. It was undoubtedly a major procedure, and Klopp added, “We’re still a long way from team training or anything like that.