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Klopp: Liverpool must live without Salah, Mane

Jurgen Klopp has urged his Liverpool squad to find solutions to winning matches without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who are away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Liverpool limped to an unimpressive goalless draw against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg at Anfield on Thursday despite Granit Xhaka‘s red card in the 24th minute.

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Curtis Jones‘ stoppage-time effort was Liverpool’s first shot on target while Takumi Minamino missed a last-gasp sitter from close range.

When asked at a news conference on Friday whether he was concerned with a lack of creativity without the attacking pair, Klopp replied: “The only way we can avoid these kind of questions is by scoring.

“The situation is clear. They are not here and they are world-class players. Do we miss them? Yes, but it’s not about who is not here, but about how we can do better. The start was really good, we caused Arsenal a lot of problems, we pressed the right spaces, we created enough and then the red card happened.

“You have to break down a really low block, and that’s the most difficult thing. We couldn’t do that last night, we were not good enough in moments. But we can do better and that’s what we will do.”

The draw against Arsenal was only the second time Liverpool have failed to score in all competitions this season but Klopp said the team must bounce back and learn from the experience.

“There’s absolutely nothing bad to say about Sadio and Mo,” he said. “Outstanding players. Naby [Keita] I would say is one of the best midfielders I ever saw. But they are not here.

“Quick thinking is much more important than quick running. Yes, Mo, Sadio and Naby can think quick but they are not here. It was crystal clear that we would sit here today after we draw 0-0 against 10 men and the only thing you would have in your mind is Sadio and Mo.

“But that’s not a solution, it’s only part of a problem. We are here to find solutions. Last night we were not perfect but maybe we are closer to our usual standard in the next game and we can win. We have to get through different periods in a season. This is our period now — let’s get through this together.”

Liverpool welcome Brentford to Anfield on Sunday as they look to close gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City who host title contenders Chelsea on Saturday.

Klopp also confirmed that Virgil van Dijk, James Milner and Andy Robertson picked up knocks during the Arsenal match but all three should be available for Sunday’s match.

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