Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident that Steven Gerrard will bounce back from being sacked by Aston Villa.
A 3-0 defeat to Fulham on Thursday evening left the Lions down in 17th in the Premier League table, having taken just nine points from their opening 11 games of the season.
Gerrard had overseen a four-game winless run before being given the boot straight after Villa’s loss at Craven Cottage and leaves with a record of 13 wins, eight draws and 19 losses from 40 games in charge.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Nottingham Forest, Klopp revealed that he and Gerrard had a “little exchange” after his sacking and hopes that the ex-Liverpool man will take some time for himself.
“He will come back from that, I’m sure,” Klopp said at his pre-game press conference. “I’ve been here seven years at Liverpool, we’ve not met a lot for different reasons, but we created a close relationship and I’ve always followed him. We had a little exchange this morning, but nothing too deep.
“These things can happen. A lot of great managers out there had to leave clubs for different reasons. He will be back 100% but I hope now he takes a bit of time for him. Since he finished his career, he’s worked all the time so maybe use the time to recharge.”
Klopp also provided an injury update as Liverpool aim to record a fourth win in a row in all competitions, and he confirmed that Naby Keita is still absent with a thigh injury.
Keita has been pictured back in training with the Reds, but Saturday’s game will come too soon for him and Ibrahima Konate, and Klopp has also been unable to guarantee that Darwin Nunez will be fit for the match.
The Uruguay international scored the winner against West Ham United in midweek before being taken off with a tight hamstring, and he will need assessing ahead of the trip to the City Ground.
“Yes, It’s too early for him [Keita] tomorrow. We can’t rush it, it’s a tough injury, serious injury and now he’s back in parts of training. From Monday on, Naby and Ibou [Ibrahima Konate] will be involved in full team training if all goes to plan.
“Ox [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] is 1 or 2 weeks ahead of Naby. What happens in the summer, no-one knows at the moment. But we cannot wait to have him back properly.”
When asked for an update on Nunez, Klopp added: “We will see, we will see what I get told later. He had treatment yesterday and we’ll have to check his scan.”
Following Klopp’s remonstrations at the linesman in last weekend’s win over Manchester City, the Reds boss was charged with improper conduct by the FA earlier this week.
Klopp was left infuriated when a perceived foul by Bernardo Silva on Mohamed Salah was not awarded, but he was able to be on the touchline for the win over West Ham after his red card.
The 55-year-old’s response to the charge is due today, but he is confident that he will not serve a ban this weekend, adding: “We just follow the process. In this moment, I expect to be on the bench tomorrow but I don’t know 100%.”
Liverpool rose to seventh in the table after overcoming West Ham and could overtake Newcastle United and Manchester United into fifth place if results go their way this weekend.