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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Klopp's faith in Karius for Sevilla clash

- Reds boss makes big call dropping Mignolet for opener

- German insists City beating will have no impact on tie

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is pictured in training ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Sevilla. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is pictured in training ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Sevilla. Photo: Reuters

Loris Karius will start in goal for Liverpool in their Champions League group opener against Sevilla tonight.

There had been suggestions Jurgen Klopp was considering selecting the German ahead of Simon Mignolet for the Anfield showpiece.

And the Reds boss, speaking to the media yesterday evening ahead of the match, has confirmed Karius has been given the nod.

When asked about the goalkeeper situation, Klopp said: "What I can say is that if nothing happens overnight, then Loris Karius will play tomorrow night."

The decision is a huge call from the Liverpool boss, who brought Karius to the club from Mainz last summer.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius.
Goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Karius made his first appearance since January when surprisingly recalled for the 4-0 Premier League win over Arsenal last month.

Mignolet, who started both legs of the Champions League play-off win against Hoffenheim and saved a penalty in the away tie, was back between the sticks for Saturday's defeat at Manchester City with Klopp having confirmed the Belgian was his first-choice keeper.

However, it appears Karius now has the chance to stake a claim to be Liverpool's goalkeeper for the Champions League this season.

Meanwhile, Klopp was not surprised Sadio Mane's three-match ban was upheld but felt the club had a duty to appeal the suspension.

Appeal

An independent regulatory hearing dismissed the Reds' claims that the Senegal international should receive a reduced ban for his foot-high clash with Ederson which left the Manchester City goalkeeper needing stitches to his face.

Klopp alluded to a number of similar incidents which had gone unpunished - Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie and West Ham's Winston Reid escaped with raised-foot challenges in the last couple of days - and stressed they felt it was important to at least test the process.

"I am not sure if I am disappointed, I didn't expect anything different," said Klopp. "I thought our appeal was absolutely right because it was never we said we would appeal the red card, it was the length of the suspension.

"He has already half-a-game suspension at City so I think it would have been the right decision for them to say 'one game less' so it would be two and a half rather than three and a half games.

"I actually never thought it would happen but only because I am used to things like this - it is not an English thing.

"There were a lot of situations in the last few weeks which were similar and all the other players were lucky; only Sadio and Ederson were not lucky."

Klopp apportioned no blame to referee Jon Moss for dismissing Mane, whom he expects to carry on harrying and challenging goalkeepers.

"I don't blame the ref for the decision: I am not sure he wanted to give the red card immediately but when he saw the boy bleeding I would have made the same decision," he added.

Mane will be eligible for the club's return to the Champions League at Anfield.

Want-away playmaker Philippe Coutinho will be in the squad with winger Mohamed Salah also expected to feature after missing training yesterday with a sore throat. Klopp insists he has not had to lift the squad's spirits following the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City.

"I didn't work hard because as human beings we have a lot of rights but not the right to be down for something we were responsible for," said the German.

"I didn't blame the boys for the second half. I had a big part in this.

"With 10 men it changed. There was not a problem with the performance up until a specific point - Man City is the worst place to be one man down.

"Tomorrow we have another competition and we worked so long and hard for it and we plan to put all what we have in this game. Nothing what happened last Saturday will stop us."

Liverpool v Sevilla

Live RTE2/BT Sport 2, 7.45

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