Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down the rumours linking his club with Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato, while he also confirmed Mamadou Sakho should be available for Wednesday's Premier League clash with Arsenal.
Speaking to reporters during his pre-match press conference, the German addressed rumours he was on the verge of making a deal for Pato, per Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star.
As shared by James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Klopp advised reporters not to look too much into it:
Klopp on Pato rumours: "My private advice to you is don't follow the Pato path any longer."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 11, 2016
He then turned his attention to the upcoming match and Liverpool's ongoing defensive injury crisis. The Reds have lost several players to injuries in the last few weeks and were forced to start the likes of Tiago Ilori and Jose Enrique in the FA Cup match against Exeter City.
Per the club's official Twitter account, options will be limited for the Arsenal match, although Sakho should return to the side and join Kolo Toure and makeshift centre-back Lucas Leiva as the available central defenders:
JK; "We have Kolo, Mama and Lucas - so three senior centre-backs [fit]." #LFC— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 11, 2016
JK: "We haven't had consistency in performances but I think Stoke was a good sign." #LFC— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 11, 2016
Turning his attention to the task at hand, Klopp showered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with praise for the incredible job he's done with the Gunners all these years, via Liverpool FC News:
Klopp on Wenger: "My respect for him grows day by day. It's really intensive to work in the PL. He's done a brilliant job."— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) January 11, 2016
Klopp knows these matches are never easy:
JK: "It's always a big challenge to play against clubs like Arsenal or Manchester United." #LFC— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 11, 2016
The Reds have struggled breaking down defences this season, and Klopp's teams usually play better against sides who are willing to move the ball as opposed to sit in their own half. The Gunners won't do the latter:
JK: "One thing is always the same [with Arsenal], they are a good football playing team." #LFC— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 11, 2016
Finally, he warned reporters not to look too much into his experiences of going up against Arsenal during his time with Dortmund, per Pearce:
Klopp: "We shouldn't talk too much about my experiences of playing against Arsenal. We will find a current plan for this game."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 11, 2016
Liverpool's struggles with injuries have turned a promising start to the Klopp era into a bit of a nightmare, and this match against the in-form league leaders couldn't come at a worse time.
The Reds badly need some momentum in order to keep up in the race for the European tickets, but Klopp can barely field a starting XI he can feel confident about.
Consistency has been an issue for Liverpool, but if they play with the defensive verve they showed against Stoke City in the Capital One Cup, they may just have a chance of grabbing a result against the Gunners.