Zlatan Ibrahimovic couldn’t resist poking fun at Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis in a public appearance in Italy.
The former Manchester United striker appeared at the five-day Sanremo Festival, an awards ceremony, which also features unreleased songs.
The festival in northwestern Italy lasts six days and Ibrahimovic, clad in a tuxedo, was Amadeus’ sidekick. Although Zlatan did not consider himself a sidekick during what he called the “Zlatan Festival”.
Ibrahimovic will sing with Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic before the festival ends on Saturday.
The Inter striker was the star of the opening night, which was covered on Italian television, and he couldn’t resist a hit on Jurgen Klopp’s woes.
With 26 singers performing at the festival, Ibrahimovic mocked Liverpool’s list of crippling injuries when he suggested four of the artists could be sold to Liverpool to be 11 to 11 on stage.
“First of all, the Zlatan festival will have 22 singers,” he said. “Eleven against eleven otherwise it is not regulated.
“I’m going to sell four since there are 26 singers in the competition, there is Liverpool looking for defenders, otherwise I’m going to put them in the garden and let them work.
“The second rule concerns the stage, it’s not good, it’s made for little ones like you (addressed to the host of Amadeus).
“I need 105 by 68 meters like San Siro, otherwise the Festival is canceled for me.
Klopp’s injury issues in defense at Liverpool have been well documented. First Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for the season before Joe Gomez and Joel Matip followed.
Fabinho, who has fulfilled his role admirably, has just returned to training after his latest setback. While skipper Jordan Henderson has since been ruled out until April.
Henderson, who also played as a center-back, suffered a groin injury against Everton and will be out until after the international break in March.
Enrique questions the signatures
Meanwhile, former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has criticized the club’s transfer activity in January.
He believes their decision to sign Ben Davies rather than a world-class center-back may have cost them the title.
Liverpool have struggled to defend their title this season. A number of injuries to key defensive players have been a major issue.
With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all injured long term, Liverpool could have spent a lot on a defender in January. Instead, they signed Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke and made a cheap deal to sign Ben Davies to the Preston Championship side.
However, Enrique believes Davies’ signing was unnecessary. The former left-back claims Liverpool shouldn’t have looked at the league players given their goals.
He said Kop Empire: “At the beginning of January, Liverpool were in a good position to fight for the title again.
“We had two players, one on loan and one from the championship on deadline day. But I never saw Davies play.