Liverpool without five first team players for Man Utd clash

Liverpool will have to make do without five of their first team stars against Manchester United on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp's side host their bitter rivals at Anfield in what will be a tasty top of the table clash.

United's win over Burnley in midweek leapfrogged them above Liverpool and into first place, territory where they have not been for some time.

Liverpool haven't been as consistent as last season when they won their first ever Premier League title. That is in large part down to the number of injuries they've sustained.

Central defensive partners Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both out with long-term knee injuries and won't return until the latter stages of the season.

Also missing from the clash will be Naby Keita. The midfielder, who started the season well, has an ankle problem.

Keita was only just getting himself back into the first team after testing positive for Covid-19 when he sustained the injury.

The 25-year-old is close to recovering but won't make the United fixture.

"Naby is not ready for involvement," Klopp confirmed. "It's not a big thing. It's a little bit like with other players in the past when they came back from injuries and then because of the amount of games and situation in the squad they had to play.

"Then a little injury happened again. Now we just had to put on the brake and say: 'Let's settle it properly'.

"In the moment we have alternatives in midfield, so we really try to give him all the time he needs to get 100 per cent fit. That's the situation, so no, he is not in contention for Sunday."

Another who started the season well but is missing for the fixture is Diogo Jota. The Portuguese burst onto the scene after completing a summer £40million move from Wolves but his impressive run was halted by a bruised knee.

Liverpool's fifth absentee is Kostas Tsimikas. The Greek defender signed for the club last summer but is currently sidelined with a knee problem.

There is some hope, however, for Liverpool fans. Joel Matip suffered an adductor injury against West Brom but Klopp hinted that the defender may return for Sunday's clash.

"Joel is close," said Klopp. "Does it now make sense to throw him into a game with one or two sessions, which he didn't do yet, but today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) he might be involved?

"To bring him (in), I don't know. We have to see, we have to decide, we have to look at him and how he will train, how he looks in training and these kind of things, but we have still different solutions.

"Hendo (Jordan Henderson) is very important in midfield for us as well, so we just have to see. It's not decided yet, why should I?"

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