Liverpool’s latest injury problems, set-pieces and upcoming fixtures

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has provided some positive news regarding groin injuries to Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, the former of which was forced to come off in the first half of Liverpool’s 2-1 over Swansea City. Manchester United await Liverpool following the international break, and Klopp is confident that the pair will be fit to face Jose Mourinho’s side.

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The injuries mean that neither Lallana or Lovren will join with their respective national teams for upcoming World Cup qualifiers. “Dejan was one of the last moments of the game. (It is) Groin (injury) for both, hopefully not that serious,” said the Liverpool boss. “In this moment they have no chance for the national teams. But hopefully 16 days should be enough to bring them back onto the pitch for the next game.”

The win over Swansea was Liverpool’s fourth consecutive win in the Premier League, to put them in second position before today’s fixtures, but was yet another game where The Reds failed to keep a clean sheet. More worrying for Liverpool was that they conceded from yet another set-piece, to make it the third goal that they have given away from set-pieces already this season.

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Since Klopp’s arrival in October 2015, Liverpool have conceded 16 goals from set-pieces. That’s an update on the above graphic, with Liverpool now ranking 19th in the league for goals given away from set-pieces. Only their opponents from Saturday, Swansea City, have conceded more, with 17. Klopp appeared on Monday Night Football last week and answered the question on set-pieces in the jovial manner that he is known for, saying, “There is no solution. We do not have the tallest team in the league. How do you fix that? Make them taller!”

There was nothing friendly in the manner that he reacted to Leroy Fer’s opener, and rightly so. The Dutchman ghosted away from Jordan Henderson in the six-yard area to tap home from a Borja Baston header across goal. The Spanish striker deputised for the injured Fernando Llorente, and squandered some glorious headed chances at Liverpool’s goal, failing to hit the target on two occasions. Liverpool certainly rode their luck in an anonymous first-half display, but turned the momentum back in their favour with a second half worthy of the three points.

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One good half might not be enough to see off Manchester United, though, and they welcome them to Anfield on the 18th of October. United, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will present a serious aerial threat to Liverpool. Then look at their next two games, West Brom and Crystal Palace, and it doesn’t take much to guess where those teams will try to expose Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp will need to iron Liverpool’s bad habit out of their game if they are to be taken seriously as title contenders. Liverpool themselves showed us that it doesn’t matter if you can score 100 goals in a season, because if your defence is fragile then you will simply fall short in the end. And with England’s two most successful clubs clashing in a fortnight’s time, you can bet that Jose Mourinho is paying particular attention to the aerial deficiencies of Liverpool.

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