Jurgen Klopp is facing a double injury dilemma ahead of the Merseyside derby in the FA Cup on Friday (5 January) with Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah rated as doubts.
The duo missed Liverpool's last gasp win over Burnley on Monday night before which Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the duo were out with minor injuries, while refusing to confirm their participation for their upcoming clash against Everton.
The Reds needed a last minute header from Ragnar Klavan to see off Sean Dyche's men at Turf Moor, but showed that they are capable of winning without their star duo. Salah and Coutinho have contributed with a combined seven goals and four assists in their last five games for Liverpool.
"Phil and Mo are injured, not massively but enough for today [to be] no chance. And [they are] a doubt, at least a doubt, for Everton," Klopp was quoted as saying by Liverpool's official site.
Salah has been Liverpool's player of the season thus far and Klopp is certain to protect the Egyptian and not risk his fitness with the second-half of the campaign just getting underway. Coutinho, meanwhile, could be on his way out of the club with Barcelona increasing their efforts to sign him in January after missing out in the summer.
The Brazilian midfielder's absence initially sparked fears that a move was near, but Klopp made it clear that he was absent only due to injury. However, Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo believes talks about injury is false as he did not look to have suffered or been carrying a knock during the Reds previous game against Leicester City.
The report claims that the move could be nearing completion especially after Nike welcomed people to buy their 2017/18 Barcelona kit with Coutinho's name offering free personalisation until 6 January. The Catalan giants are said to be preparing a fee of €150m (£133m), including add-ons to take the midfielder to the Camp Nou.
Liverpool, meanwhile, kicked off their January transfer window with the £75m capture of long-term target Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. The deal was concluded just before the New Year, but the defender signed the contract and was officially presented on New Year's day.
Klopp is unsure of when the defender will make his debut but is certain that he will not be involved when the Reds welcome rivals Everton to Anfield in the FA Cup on Friday. The manager revealed that it will take time as the defender needs to integrate himself into the squad and build an understanding with his teammates before making his debut.
The German coach admits that a pre-season is required for a centre-back to integrate himself into the squad, but admitted that any decision regarding his debut will be taken post the Merseyside derby.
"I don't know [when Van Dijk will make his debut]," Klopp said, as quoted on Liverpool's official site. "We made a few tests that make sense only for him and for us, to see where he stands. That's all. There is no rush.
"He is on fire and he really wants it, that's all good, but we have to make sure he can perform. Centre-half is a position which depends on all the others on the pitch. There are a few challenges you have to solve by yourself, all the rest is always together. That means you have to tune it so it works really together," the German coach added.