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Klopp goes on the defence

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“That’s how it sometimes starts - when you are really needed then it is only about if you are good enough and not how old you are."

WOLVES Ruben Neves settles matters against Liverpool dumping the Reds out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory. Picture; AP

Liverpool’s Croatian defender Dejan Lovren will have to spend some time on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in Monday’s FA Cup third round loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Lovren went off in the sixth minute and had to be replaced by 16-year-old Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever.

With central defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip also sidelined and Virgil van Dijk not used against Wolverhampton, Brazilian midfielder Fabinho filled in at centre-half.

“(It is his) hamstring, is what I heard – without any signs before. I asked everybody, no signs, nothing, just out of the blue, so that’s the decision you have to make,” said Klopp when asked about Lovren’s injury.

“I am not sure what you all would have said if immediately from the beginning if our centre-half situation was Fabinho and Ki-Jana; then probably a few very smart people would tell me that I don’t respect the competition or whatever,” said Klopp.

“So, we tried to do all the things (we could). Of course, on the other hand it doesn’t make sense to bring in a 16-year-old boy from the start. You don’t bring him, you wait until he is completely ready, but he did well.

“That’s how it sometimes starts – when you are really needed then it is only about if you are good enough and not how old you are.

“He did well, so that was all OK. That’s it.”

Klopp was unable to say for how long Lovren will be out.

Liverpool, whose lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to four points after last week’s defeat by Manchester City, are away to Brighton on Saturday. They also have just over a month to prepare for Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League.

Klopp said his decision to field a weakened side against Wolves had been influenced by illnesses suffered in his camp.

“After the City game we immediately had a few players who were ill, who showed a sore threat and all you can have in this period of the year. A few of them were not even in (training) after the City game, so there was no chance,” said Klopp.

“Pretty much all the players who were not here today had little problems, apart from Ali (goalkeeper Alisson Becker).

“The problem is, we played a similar line-up and had three tough games in the last couple of weeks, so it was clear we had to change. That’s it, that’s all.”

Ruben Neves slammed in the winner for Wolves 10 minutes into the second half as Liverpool became the sixth Premier League side to go out in the third round.

“I’m really pleased, I think we performed very well, tough game, stayed calm, stayed compact and we took our chances,” Wolves manager Nuno Esperito Santo said afterwards.

Wolves’ former Liverpool defender Conor Coady said his side deserved their win.

“It was always going to be a nervy end so you have to defend, but the lads stood tall against a good Liverpool team,” Coady said. “It was a hell of a victory for everybody. Liverpool are a fantastic club but we played the way we wanted to. We moved the ball and kept it well so it was pleasing for everyone.”

Wolves will travel to either Shrewsbury or Stoke in the fourth round. Arsenal will host Manchester United in the pick of the fourth-round ties, while holders Chelsea are at home to Sheffield Wednesday or Luton.

Reuters and dpa