Klopp urges Reds to 'step up'

12 January 2018 09:44:48 EST

Jurgen Klopp has challenged his Liverpool players to "step up" to fill the void left by the departure of star playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

The 25-year-old Brazil international completed a move to the Camp Nou earlier this week, with the deal reported to be worth in excess of £140million.

We don't have to replace him, we have to step up.

Jurgen Klopp

Part of that fee had already been used by the Reds to secure the services of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and Klopp says the players currently at Anfield are more than capable of coping without Coutinho.

Ahead of a massive Premier League clash with runaway leaders Manchester City on Merseyside on Sunday, the German told reporters: "There was no other option. We tried everything to convince Phil to stay here.

"He left Liverpool for only one club - Barcelona - but the club was fighting. It was 100 per cent clear there was no chance I could use him in the second half of the season.

"We don't have to replace him, we have to step up. We have to make the best of it and it is easy because we have fantastic players here."

One of those players, Mohamed Salah, is set to return from a groin injury to face the Citizens, with the Reds' leading scorer having missed the last two games.

Meanwhile, Klopp was non-committal about whether Van Dijk would start against City, despite having enjoyed something of a dream debut in the 2-1 FA Cup third-round derby win over Everton.

Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are the other central defensive options at the disposal of Klopp.

Liverpool are available at 27/10 to earn a draw against City on Sunday, with a 1-1 final scoreline priced at 13/2, while the Reds are 1/100 to secure a top-four finish come the end of the season.

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