Merseyside derby: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has faith in new-look midfield

Reds suffer injury setback with Robertson set for three months out

Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai, left, and Ryan Gravenberch, who will get their first taste of the Merseyside derby on Saturday. Reuters
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Jurgen Klopp has backed his new-look midfield to thrive in the cauldron of the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

The Reds have a formidable record against near neighbours Everton, losing just one of the last 25 duels with their city rivals.

However, they have undergone a significant churn in personnel since the end of last season and with it have lost a large amount of derby experience.

The Merseyside affair is often a fesity contest and ranks as officially the league's most ill-disciplined fixture when it comes to red cards.

Hosts Liverpool are particularly dominant at Anfield but could start the game with all three of their midfielders making derby debuts, with summer arrivals Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo all pushing to start.

“It is a special game no doubt but a high pressure game and they all played them," said Klopp when asked if that lack of experience could be a problem.

"[Mac Allister] played the World Cup with Argentina, Dom [Szoboszlai] played Serbia recently in a super-important, high-pressure game so they are all used to the kind of game.

“The exact game, no, but I cannot show them a movie of derbies and say that is how they should be. I don’t think we have to make it too big.”

Everton go into the game having experienced a slight improvement in results after a poor start to their Premier League campaign. They beat Bournemouth 3-0 in their last outing before the international break and the consensus is that performances have been better than results.

Klopp added: "Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an important player for them, [Abdoulaye] Doucoure is back to his best, with [Jack] Harrison and [Dwight] McNeil on the wings. That is quality, real quality. [Amadou] Onana, [James] Garner], there is real talent; they have experience in defence. They have a really good team."

Liverpool are set to be without left-back Andy Robertson who needs surgery for a shoulder problem sustained when on international duty with Scotland. The Liverpool boss revealed the defender could be missing for as long as three months.

“There is a little chance we could try without but talking to pretty much all experts it looks like surgery will be the best thing, especially in the long term definitely, and that means he is out for a while,” said Klopp.

“You only see the real extent of injury when you have a look into it, like properly open (up the shoulder) and fix it – but my experience tells me around about three months.

“That is a shoulder (injury), usually not a lot of times you say it was earlier but Robbo is a quick healer, that is true.

“In this specific case we have to make sure the shoulder structure is stable, because the moment the boy starts all the normal contact stuff again the player has to be ready for that.

“I don’t exactly when, but next Wednesday (or whenever he has the operation) we will know more.

“In my experience you can train pretty quickly again but not football-specific because you have to be careful of challenges and all these kind of things so he will be out for a while. It is a big loss.”

Updated: October 20, 2023, 4:27 PM