With a growing injury list that left him with no senior central defenders, Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp made 11 changes for Friday’s 2-2 FA Cup draw with fourth-tier Exeter.

Wenger
Wenger

The average age of the under-strength team was just over 22 years with Christian Benteke the only first-teamer among the starters.

The Reds next welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Wednesday and Wenger figures to see some familiar big names among Klopp’s squad.

“Don’t worry, Arsene is a very good doctor – they always heal when they play against us!” he said.

“The team who played on Friday night is not the team who will play against us.

“They had many injures and I think they didn’t want more injuries before an important week.”

Five wins from six league matches have lifted Arsenal to the top of the table, two points ahead of surprising Leicester City and three clear of Manchester City.

Liverpool are currently eighth and are in the midst of a busy fixture list.

The Reds played the first leg of their League Cup semi-final last week prior to the FA Cup and now face Arsenal and Manchester United before the FA Cup replay with Exeter next week.

That congestion is one of the major differences between managing in England and Germany for Klopp.

“I have had a similar situation before with injuries, but with the winter break, they come back,” he said.

“That’s the thing, it’s the number of games, football, football, football. With a perfect pre-season you are prepared for a long, long journey.

“We knew about it, but to feel it is different.”

Leicester look to keep their title hopes alive with a second visit to Tottenham in three days after Harry Kane’s late penalty earned Spurs a 2-2 FA Cup draw on Sunday.

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy sat out the game after minor groin surgery and manager Claudio Ranieri says its a “50-50” chance the league’s top scorer with be ready for the return match.

The pressure is likely to continue for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal when his side travel to Newcastle on Tuesday.

United heard some boos as they struggled to beat lower division Sheffield United 1-0 in the FA Cup, thanks to Wayne Rooney’s injury-time penalty.

They’re nine points behind Arsenal in fifth place and are seeking to win two straight in the league for the first time since November.

“Always in the Premier League and against lower league teams, the games are tough,” midfielder Marouane Fellaini told MUTV. “There are often surprises.

“Tuesday against Newcastle will be tough, it is always tough there but we started the New Year well so we have to continue that.”

Last-place Aston Villa host Crystal Palace, West Ham are at Bournemouth and Sunderland are away to Swansea on Tuesday, while Wednesday’s games see West Brom visit Chelsea, Manchester City host Everton, Southampton meet Watford and Norwich at Stoke.

GNA

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