Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara will not be fit in time for Liverpool’s Champions League clash against FC Midtjylland.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was not giving too much away regarding the timescales for their returns from injury but did reveal at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Group D game that the trio would miss out against the Danish club.

Asked if they would be fit, Klopp said: “I don’t think so. It’s still what I said last week, we look day by day, but it looks like we’ll need a few more days.

“So for tomorrow night, they will probably not be ready.”

Defender Matip has been out since sustaining a knock in the Merseyside derby on October 17 while Thiago (knee) was injured towards the end of the game at Goodison Park.

Fellow midfielder Keita, back in training after testing negative for coronavirus, has not played since coming off at half-time in the 7-2 hammering by Aston Villa just before the international break.

Tuesday’s clash at Anfield will be the first time the two clubs have ever met in a competitive fixture.

The game sees six-time winners of the competition Liverpool host a club who were only founded in 1999 and are making their first appearance in the Champions League.

It has been billed as David against Goliath by some of the media in Denmark, but Klopp does not see it that way.

“We don’t see Midtjylland as a small club, we see Midtjylland as a proper challenger in this group,” he said.

“No-one is part of the Champions League because they are nice cities, they are in the Champions League because they earned the right the year before.

“There are no small teams in the Champions League, there are only teams who show how big they are on the pitch, not in the press conferences before games.”

Last season, Liverpool, as defending champions, were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Atletico Madrid and forced to watch the finale of the competition from their summer training camp.

Klopp is keen to avoid another early exit this time around and is ready to resume the club’s love affair with the competition.

“It should not happen again, of course, but that is far away. We played a really good game against Atletico, but people tend to forget that when you lose,” said Klopp.

“We love the competition even though we got knocked out early. It is Liverpool in the Champions League at Anfield again tomorrow, even though there is no crowd, and it is a competition we love. I hope we showed that last week too.

“There are no guarantees but plenty of opportunities and we like opportunities, so let’s see where we go.”

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