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klopp chat Jurgen Klopp salutes the return of a key man as he targets a Premier League revival

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Jurgen Klopp has had problems in defence this season (Trenka Attila/PA)

Jurgen Klopp has had problems in defence this season (Trenka Attila/PA)

Jurgen Klopp has had problems in defence this season (Trenka Attila/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has seen his side crippled by injuries this season and he believes the return of one key player could be crucial to his hopes of ending a challenging season on a high.

Diogo Jota picked up an injury playing in Liverpool's final Champions League group game in December, with the Portuguese striker only making a return to action earlier this month.

Now Klopp has suggested Jota could have a key role to play as his side look to make a late push to secure a top four finish in the Premier League after an alarming slump that has seen them lose their last six matches at Anfield.

"He was a big miss, a big miss," Klopp said of Jota. "I think the moment when he got injured he was in a really good moment, which always then makes the fact, which is already bad, that the player is injured even worse.

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Diogo Jota gives the Reds more options up front (Peter Powell/PA)

Diogo Jota gives the Reds more options up front (Peter Powell/PA)

Diogo Jota gives the Reds more options up front (Peter Powell/PA)

"What does he bring? His qualities. He can play up front in all three positions, he played all three positions for us and that is already really helpful. He can play them on a really high level, so he makes us stronger, which is really good.

"Now he is back he is doing well. It is really important that we have him back for plenty of reasons."

With Roberto Firmino an injury doubt for Monday's game at Wolves, Jota looks certain to play against his former club and Klopp has also given a strong hint that his new and inexperienced central defensive pairing of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak will play every game they are available to start in between now and the end of the season.

With Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all-but ruled out for the remainder of the season, Klopp is keen to keep this pair together for as long as possible, not least because it allows Fabinho to return to his preferred central midfield position where he is far more effective.

However, Klopp does not want the pair to think they are on trial to be a longer-term solution for cover next season.

"There is no test now, or whatever. It's not a testing period about a long-term future or whatever. We will see," he continued.

"I hope they will stay fit, but I cannot sit here and give guarantees for these kind of things. It looked good, and if they are physically ready to go again, which I hope, then why should I change it?

"We want to have consistency, and we never had that. Hopefully they can play a lot of games if not all of them. If not we have to find solutions. Rhys Williams, I don't want to forget him, he's in a good moment."

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