Klopp hails ‘the most important challenge’ of Camacho’s life

Matt Stead
19th January 2019, Anfield, Liverpool, England; EPL Premier League football, Liverpool versus Crystal Palace; Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp issues instructions to substitute Rafa Camacho of Liverpool (photo by David Blunsden/Action Plus via Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Rafa Camacho and “the most important challenge of his life” against Crystal Palace.

Liverpool maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday but were made to earn their 4-3 victory over Palace.

The Reds came from behind to beat the relegation battlers at Anfield, with James Milner’s late red card leading to an uncomfortable final few minutes.

Camacho was introduced in the third minute of stoppage time, with Max Meyer halving the deficit a minute later.

But Camacho’s intervention prevented a Palace equaliser when he tackled Zaha in the Liverpool penalty area in the dying stages.

“It is a really difficult problem,” said Klopp of his ever-decreasing options at right-back.

“I can imagine what people think about this situation but you have to make decisions in moments when decisions are on the table.

“That’s why Clyney is not here anymore. In that moment we had plenty of options and now we don’t have them. That’s how it is in our next games.

“Trent got an injury and it’s serious but not that serious. He will be back early but I don’t know if early enough for the next game. Maybe the game after.

“Everyone gives me the feeling, Trent as well, that that is absolutely possible but we have to wait and cannot risk anything. We have to come through this situation.”

Klopp again dismissed the idea he would be signing someone to fill in this month.

“Tell me a player who can play right-back and other positions as well or better than our boys like Rafa can do?

“Crystal Palace, of course, had three goalkeepers and all is fine and then the next moment you stand there with one. Do you buy another goalkeeper? I’m not sure.

“We have to use the resources we have already and that is what we try.”

On Camacho, whose well-timed tackle on Zaha brought the game to a close, Klopp added: “I told him immediately after the game that he’d already made the most important challenge of his life.

“I’m not sure he really got it – he looked at me like ‘What is he talking about?’ – but it was really massive.

“He’s good in defensive challenges. He’s an offensive player in his mindset and everything but look at our full-backs and where are they most of the time? You need these offensive skills.

“On the other side there will be moments when you are alone on the pitch against a world class player and they are looking to nutmeg you or whatever.

“It is the learning process Robbo went through. He was a fantastic left-winger but played full-back and now he is a full-back. That’s really cool.

“I was really happy in that moment but I have seen similar situations from him (Camacho) before.”