By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jurgen Klopp has revealed three-quarters of Liverpool’s defence are doubts for Tuesday’s League Cup showdown against Stoke.
Nathaniel Clyne, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure are struggling to be fit for the semi-final second leg match at Anfield.
Klopp revealed that Dejan Lovren is closing in on a return after three weeks out with a hamstring injury sustained in the first leg but his team-mates will face late tests.
“Dejan after three weeks trained yesterday, a complete session,” said the Liverpool manager at his media briefing on Monday. “That was good. We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours what’s up with Kolo and Mama (Sakho) because Steven (Caulker) can’t play.
“Clyney got a knock, he’s a really tough boy. I think we should leave him out of training and leave him overnight.”
Sakho and Toure have been Liverpool’s central defensive partnership in their last three Premier League games, in which they have conceded eight goals against Norwich, Manchester United and Norwich.
But Klopp has spoken of the pair’s difficulties in starting a series of matches consecutively, with Sakho struggling with a knee condition and the Ivorian set to turn 35 in March.
Jon Flanagan returned to the Liverpool team last week after nearly two years out with knee problems but he is not yet deemed ready to start.
Klopp said: “We love Flanno. But he’s been out a long time. Ninety minutes is not the best thing.”