Liverpool winger Sadio Mane requires knee surgery and will miss the rest of the season, manager Juergen Klopp said Friday.
Four of their final seven opponents this season are below 10th, with tough trips to West Bromwich Albion and Watford as well as hosting Southampton - who knocked Klopp's charges out of the EFL Cup at the semi-final stage and have yet to concede a goal to Liverpool this term after 180 minutes.
"Everybody saw it. It was not ideal and I made the decision".
"That's why it felt like it did at the end. That is the only good news".
"Phil is still ill". These are the highest-quality players and if you took out all the players which we miss now from other teams I'd be surprised if they could play their best football.
"But having too many players is not good for a squad because you kill development". Different parts in the season, different performances, but still good. "We just have to get as many points as we can", he added. I don't think 60, or 62, or 65 points will be enough to reach the Champions League. "We've had fantastic games with them at home so we are hoping for more of the same".
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Klopp is waiting to see if Coutinho recovers from an illness to play while Sadio Mane (knee), Adam Lallana (thigh) and Jordan Henderson (foot) are all long-term absentees, as Daniel Sturridge returned to training this week.
"We've gone through fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea, Leicester City who are in resurgent form and Burnley away which is always hard because their home record is strong, and it's allowed us to drop a couple of positions in the league".
However, Klopp believes Liverpool have shown they are capable of performing in the Senegal international's absence - pointing to the chances created without Mane in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.
Defender Marc Muniesa said: "We need to stop that losing run".
"I don't think we have a lot (of injuries) because of intensity".
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