(Reuters) - Juergen Klopp has said his Liverpool team must be prepared to play ugly football to secure Champions League qualification following the injury to productive forward Sadio Mane ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth.
Mane, who has scored 13 league goals this season, suffered a knee injury during Liverpool 3-1 win over Everton last weekend and could be sidelined for the rest of the season.
Liverpool won just one of their seven games in January when Mane was at the African Nations Cup with Senegal and Klopp is preparing alternate tactics to avoid a similar fate as they target a top-four finish in the league.
“The line-up we will choose is to make them as strong, as compact and as ugly to play as possible,” the 49-year-old German told reporters.
”The best plan in the world is only as good as the players.
“Maybe we can surprise one of the other teams with good organisation, good defending, good counter-attacks. Why not?”
Bournemouth, 14th in the league, rallied to defeat third-placed Liverpool 4-3 in the reverse fixture at the Vitality Stadium last December and Klopp said his side would not underestimate their opponents.
“We should stop thinking about this idea of weaker teams. Football is a game, as I understand it, with no weaker team,” he said.
Liverpool will be without skipper Jordan Henderson and midfielder Adam Lallana for the Bournemouth clash, with striker Divock Origi set to replace Mane in the starting lineup.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru