A prickly Jurgen Klopp rejected suggestions that midfield is becoming a problem area for his Liverpool team in a feisty pre-Merseyside derby press conference.
The Reds come into their latest meeting with neighbours Everton off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that saw Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum endure a first half to forget.
With Marco Verratti pulling the strings for the hosts, PSG built up a decisive two-goal lead inside 37 minutes to claim a victory that kept their Champions League hopes alive.
However, when it was put it to him that recent performances in the engine room might be cause for concern, Klopp surprisingly claimed that he had not seen any issues.
He said: “Not as controlled? We’ve conceded five [league] goals and you talk about our midfield is overrun.
“Sorry, I didn’t see that, I heard about that. Yes, we could’ve scored more goals, creativity. No, I don’t see any problems in midfield.”
The Liverpool boss faces something of a selection headache in the centre of the park on Sunday, with captain Henderson suspended after receiving a red card against Watford.
That means summer signings Naby Keita and Fabinho come into contention for a start, despite both having played relatively little football during a lengthy bedding in period at Anfield.
Asked if both players would be ready for the intensity of such a fixture, an exasperated Klopp insisted he could not know until the end of the 90 minutes this weekend.
He said: “Yeah, absolutely. The players had the whole week together. Most of the time, they talk to each other so they all know about it.
“He is not available so what should I do? Ask the FA or what? I thought that I should choose a team where I think they are ready, to be honest.
“I really don’t get a lot of your questions today but, sorry, maybe you are not happy with my answers. I don’t understand it, why should I think about that?
“Are they ready? We will see! We have to prove it. If I would say now, ‘I think we have a real problem with that, I don’t think we have enough time to make them ready for a derby’, what kind of idiot would I be?
“Ask a question where the answer is not clear on a plate. You ask a question, I say, ‘Yes, I think they are ready, but we have to prove it on Sunday’.”