Jurgen Klopp expects Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure fit to face Arsenal
Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho available to return at centre-back for Liverpool in Wednesday's Premier League showdown with leaders Arsenal.
The injury crisis that ruled all four regular central defenders out of last Fridays's FA Cup tie at Exeter has eased slightly with Toure having recovered from the cramp he suffered in the Capital One Cup semifinal away to Stoke on Jan. 5.
His absence had forced Klopp to recall Tiago Ilori from loan to make his Liverpool debut and press out-of-favour left-back Jose Enrique into emergency service alongside him, but Toure has been cleared to face the Gunners.
Who starts alongside the Ivorian will come down to further assessment of Sakho's knee injury closer to Wednesday's meeting at Anfield. Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel, as expected, remain sidelined with hamstring problems.
Jordan Henderson and Jordon Ibe will also be in contention to face Arsenal, but not James Milner.
Asked if he had any senior defenders back, Klopp told a news conference: "We'll see. The situation now is better than two or three days ago. Kolo is available, so we will have a senior centre-back.
"Mama wants to be available -- hopefully we can use him -- we will see. Martin of course is not one to think about for a few weeks."
He added that Lovren had a chance of facing Manchester United on Jan. 17.
Klopp said: "Dejan feels good, but the timing of the injury was the 5th of January at Stoke, so only six days ago. Until Arsenal is something like eight days and Man United about 11, 12. There will be a moment when we have to decide if it's a risk or if we could try, but now is not the moment for this.
"So [for Arsenal] we have probably Kolo and Mama, and the next one is Lucas [Leiva]. So we have senior centre-backs."
Asked for an update on his injured midfielders, Klopp added: "Jordon Ibe, Jordan Henderson and Mama who I spoke about -- we have three bits of good news. Milly was [recovering]; we left him when we went to Exeter, but he is still in training."
Klopp didn't mention Divock Origi, but multiple reports on Monday night said the forward had undergone knee surgery and would be out until February.
The manager indicated that it would take a performance equal to that produced in the 4-1 win at Manchester City to match Arsenal. And he hoped that the pattern of his team seeming to produce their best against the most fancied opponents would continue, but warned that Arsenal would not want to drop points.
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"This is the only week so far in 2016 when I hope we will see [that]," Klopp said. "The thing with performances like against Manchester City and Chelsea is that if you can't perform in a similar way against West Brom, Crystal Palace or whatever, then it's 'Yeah they can only play like this [against these teams]...' -- but if it was so easy to play like this against Man City and Chelsea then more more teams would do it more often.
"So it won't be easy, but the main thing we have to say is after 10 minutes against Chelsea it was a very good away [performance], and from the first second against City. The main information we have to take is that we have to be really good. If we are good then we can [do well] in this game. Arsenal together with City are for sure the two best teams in the Premier League.
"To stay in a good position [at the top of the table] against Man City they need all the points [available], so I think they will show us they are really ambitious this year. They are in a good moment."
Tom is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. Follow him @writertombell.