LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was left facing a striker crisis following a straight card for new signing Darwin Nunez in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday, with fellow forwards Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota already missing through injury.
Starting his first Premier League game since arriving from Benfica in the close season, the red mist descended on Nunez in the second half and he appeared to head-butt defender Joachim Andersen, which resulted in a dismissal and three-match ban.
That leaves Klopp short of striking talent ahead of the visit to Old Trafford next Monday to face Manchester United.
“It’s really tricky in a moment with injuries and players with little things and how you manage them and all those kinds of things,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“We have to use the next week to maybe bring one or two back. I’m not sure if we can do that. But now we lost Darwin today. That doesn’t help. Bobby (Firmino) might be ready for next week,” he added.
Firmino missed Monday’s game at Anfield as a precautionary measure and, though Nunez’s ban will force Klopp to shake up his squad, the German coach was mild in his criticism of the Uruguay international.
“It’s absolutely not a reaction you want to see … I don’t know exactly how long he will be suspended but that’s the situation and so we will use it for physical work – not as punishment, just to make him even stronger,” Klopp said.
Liverpool winger Luis Diaz struck a brilliant equaliser four minutes after the sending-off and the Colombian may have to shoulder more of the attacking burden away to United.
“Incredible, incredible goal, and of course, we needed that,” Klopp said.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)