Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Sadio Mane available for Liverpool’s crunch clash with Manchester City on Sunday.
The Senegal star has missed the Reds’ last two games with a muscle issue. And while his team-mates overcame his absence superbly in winning at West Ham last Sunday, they were abject without him on Wednesday night, losing 1-0 at home to Brighton.
The defeat, their second in a row at Anfield after 68 unbeaten home league games, leaves their title hopes hanging by a threat. The champions sit fourth, seven points behind leaders Manchester City, who also boast a game in hand.
A win on Sunday, then, is vital for Klopp’s side, and the German hopes to be boosted by Mane’s return for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s men.
“[With] Sadio we will see,” Klopp told his post-match press conference. “He might be available for the weekend, I don't know. He didn't train with the team today. We will see.”
Klopp was also without star Brazilian duo Alisson Becker and Fabinho for the defeat to Brighton. Fabinho is nursing a muscle problem, while Alisson fell ill on the morning of the game. Both have a chance of featuring against City.
Klopp suggested that Diogo Jota, though, could be as many as four weeks away from a return, despite being pictured stepping up his recovery from a knee injury this week.
“Diogo is – I don't know exactly – a couple of weeks, two, three, four. I'm not sure,” Klopp added.
The 53-year-old had no complaints about his side’s latest loss, their fourth in the league, suggesting his players were “mentally fatigued” after recording eye-catching wins over Tottenham and West Ham in the past week.
“It’s long ago we looked like this - fatigued, mentally fatigued,” Klopp said. “And that leads to not the best legs as well. It was a tough week and today we were not fresh enough, that means then not good enough to break the formation of Brighton.
“We had two tough games and we are not mentally fatigued, like, depressed or whatever. Just tonight we were not mentally fresh enough, that's for sure.
“That's what I mean and not depressed or whatever. Please don't forget I'm not native and don't make stories of my bad English. So, we were not fresh enough here, that's true, and that's what we have to be.”
He added: “I know and you know as well how much better football these boys can play. There might be two reasons. One is they don't want to, and I think even you would agree with me that that's probably not the case. So then why didn't it work? These are the things we have to figure out.”