Liverpool without Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk for the Saints clash

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Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk have been ruled out for Liverpool’s crucial Premier League clash at Southampton on Tuesday.

The pair were forced to withdraw during the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday with groin and knee injuries respectively.

Neither man is seriously injured but, despite the importance of the match in the title race, manager Jurgen Klopp does not want to take any chances as he plans the Champions League final.

Salah walked off the pitch after 30 minutes at Wembley (Adam Davy/PA)

Asked if any could play at St Mary’s, Klopp said: “No. They’re both doing well, so the goal for both of them would be for them to be able to get involved again over the weekend.

“It is very positive, (there is no) doubt about the final and we are realistic about the Wolves game (on Sunday), but for tomorrow, (we would prefer) not to do it.”

Klopp admits he is also likely to make other changes for the trip to the south coast. Andy Robertson, who retired with cramps on Saturday, is another who may not participate.

Liverpool really need to win to maintain any hope of overcoming Manchester City for the title but, with the grueling nature of the penalty shootout win over Chelsea also a factor, Klopp feels the rotation is necessary.

Liverpool won the FA Cup on penalties after 120 goalless minutes against Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA)

The German said: “When did Southampton have their last game? I think it was 10 (or) 12 days ago. (It’s long. Ok, they may lack a bit of rhythm but if we make changes, we lose that advantage of having rhythm as well.

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“They are completely fresh and this is a very energetic and well organized team. That is the challenge we face.

“Imagine we go there with 10 players, or eight players, who played 120 minutes. That doesn’t make sense, that’s why we have to make changes.”

The Reds’ defeat would end their quadruple bid and see City confirmed as champions.

However, after City drew 2-2 at West Ham on Sunday, Liverpool have a chance to drop a point back before the final round of matches. Liverpool wrap up their campaign at home to Wolves, with City hosting Aston Villa.

Klopp said: “What I can promise, definitely, is that we will line up to try to win the game in Southampton. We have a job to do and we need to see who can help.

“I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s game, but is it a great opportunity? I wouldn’t say because I don’t know when was the last time City dropped points two games in a row.

“I don’t expect City to lose points, but that doesn’t affect our game tomorrow. In an ideal world, we would go into the last game a point behind.”

The match was originally scheduled for last weekend but was rearranged due to Liverpool’s participation in the FA Cup final.

Klopp wary of a ‘whole new’ Southampton (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Klopp said: “There are two more matchdays in this week. We played on Saturday and it was possible that we played 120 minutes, and they thought that the best day to play the next game was Tuesday.

“You could have given us Wednesday, but I think that’s not possible because of the Europa League final. So Thursday maybe? It would have been a little better. Nobody thought: ‘We can give them one more day of rest’.

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“But again, I can’t wait to play the game, now we know where we play. I’m really excited about that and the guys that are going to start the game, they’re going to do everything they can to make this happen.”

Klopp, meanwhile, has downplayed speculation linking Liverpool with Paris St Germain superstar striker Kylian Mbappe, adding credence to suggestions that such a move would not be financially feasible for the club.

He said: “Of course we are interested in Kylian Mbappe, we are not blind! If you don’t like it, you have to question yourself, but we can’t be part of these speculations.”


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