Jurgen Klopp Says Jordan Henderson Out vs Fulham, Oxlade-Chamberlain Near Return

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson recieves medical attention during the UEFA Champions League, last 16, second leg football match Bayern Munich v Liverpool in Munich, southern Germany, on March 13, 2019. (Photo by GUENTER SCHIFFMANN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said Jordan Henderson will miss Sunday's Premier League trip to face Fulham, but he and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be fully fit after the upcoming international break.

Captain Henderson was taken off early during Tuesday's 3-1 UEFA Champions League win over Bayern Munich, and Klopp said his injury was "probably serious enough to rule him out" of the trip to Fulham.

Speaking at Friday's press conference, Klopp said: “The international break will hopefully be long enough to bring him back. It is to do with his ankle. It's the best it can be but still not good enough, it's OK though."

Fabinho came on to replace Henderson at the Allianz Arena and could be the preferred option to anchor Liverpool's midfield at Craven Cottage.

Klopp added that he hoped Oxlade-Chamberlain will be back to full fitness in the near future, per journalist Richard Buxton:

Richard Buxton @RichardBuxton_

Klopp on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain "I heard nothing new but there's no rush now, before the weekend. After the international break, he will be 100 per cent fit." #LFC

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 25, has been absent since he suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury against AS Roma in April 2018.

Midfielder Naby Keita also faces a fight to be ready for Sunday's clash against Fulham after missing the last-16 second-leg win over Bayern.

Klopp said the Guinea international's situation was "positive until now but we have to see if it stays positive when he goes outside."

Centre-back Joe Gomez remains a long-term absentee, although defensive partner Dejan Lovren could be in contention to return after he was an unused substitute for the recent wins over Bayern and Burnley.

Virgil van Dijk has continued to impress at Anfield and scored Liverpool's second at the Allianz, though Klopp lavished praise upon team-mate Joel Matip for his displays during an injury-hit patch:

“He has really stepped up. From me he cannot get more praise, he's an outstanding player and he did unbelievably against Bayern.

“We were unlucky with the centre-back injuries but hopefully this is all nearly sorted.

“Matip was incredible against Naples (sic) until he got that injury, but we've had a bit of consistency now and thankfully Virg is playing all the time and they've done a brilliant job."

Sadio Mane scored twice in the win over Bayern and has stepped up during Mohamed Salah's goal drought. Klopp praised his Senegalese star following his recent rise but noted it wasn't important who was scoring:

“It's good that we've split the goals a little bit. We have 73 points now and each goal we have scored has brought us there. ...

“Who scores is not important. If Sadio didn't score for five games or so he might not score that first but it came so naturally."

There are 17 places between relegation candidates Fulham and second-placed Liverpool in the standings, with the Reds looking to extend their unbeaten streak to 12 matches.

There's a danger Tuesday's convincing victory in Bavaria could lead to complacency against Fulham, but Klopp said his side won't lack concentration, per the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp on belief: "We will stay focused. We weren't surprised that we could beat Bayern, we were really happy. Let's stay in the same mood - confident but aggressive, direct, all that stuff."

Liverpool have won their last five meetings with the Cottagers, and Scott Parker faces a difficult challenge to notch his first win as Fulham boss at home to the Merseysiders.

Manchester City have an FA Cup quarter-final against Swansea City on Saturday, meaning a win at Fulham would move Liverpool two points clear at the top.

Nevertheless, Klopp was fixated on the task at hand:

“When City have a game in hand it's not that important. We just want to win our game at the weekend.

“City's game in hand is against United and that's not easy, but we need to think about winning our games only.

“We haven't struggled psychologically with them ahead of us or us ahead of them, it's just being really focused on the football game. Until the end of the season, let's play football."

Salah has failed to score in his last nine games and will hope to end that duck in west London, while Mane is looking to build on his run of six goals in his last four appearances.