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Klopp confident his ban won’t damage Liverpool’s top four bid

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Darren Staples/AFP

Jurgen Klopp insists his touchline ban won’t have a negative effect on Liverpool’s bid to catch Manchester United in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Klopp will be missing from the touchline when Liverpool host Aston Villa on Saturday after he was suspended following his criticism of referee Paul Tierney.

The German received a two-match ban, one of which will not come into effect unless he has another transgression before the end of next season, after questioning Tierney’s integrity when the official was involved in several controversial decisions during Liverpool’s win against Tottenham in April.

“I expected a punishment with all the things we know, and all the things we could hear and stuff like this,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.

“People around me were pretty negative, they thought it would be longer. So, one game is OK.”

Klopp’s absence could be a blow to fifth placed Liverpool as they try to catch fourth placed Manchester United, who sit one point clear of their rivals with a game in hand.

But the Liverpool boss is confident his players can cope without him against Villa.

He already served a touchline ban earlier this season when he watched Liverpool beat Southampton in November from the stands.

The Reds are on a run of seven successive victories and Klopp said: “From a watching point of view it is a much better position to see the game, it was with the Southampton game and it was super-helpful to see the game from there.

“Nobody will shout like me at them if they don’t track back but I will tell the boys if they don’t want me to do that in the future they just have to do that now without me shouting.

“I am really in contact with Vitor (Matos, one of the coaching staff) so we can speak about everything, substitutions, and apart from that Pep (Klopp’s assistant Lijnders), is an incredible coach and he will be out there.”

Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez is unavailable for the Villa game after he missed Monday’s win at Leicester with a toe injury.

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