Jurgen Klopp has exonerated new signing Ozan Kabak of any blame in Schalke’s Bundesliga troubles this season.
The Liverpool boss swooped to land the central defender on Monday night on a loan deal with an option to buy in the summer.
Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip forced the champions’ hand.
It is why the club made a last-minute dip into the transfer market to sign Kabak and Ben Davies from Preston for an initial £500,000.
Davies was somewhat a shock arrival, but Kabak has been linked with Liverpool for some time. The only surprise was that they left it until deadline day to make their move.
Kabak has a wealth of experience after playing for Galatasaray, Stuttgart and Schalke, despite being only 20.
Schalke have struggled this season and Klopp admitted the Bundesliga side, who are bottom, have had “problems”.
The Gelsenkirchen-based side have conceded 49 goal in 19 games and Kabak has started 14 of those games. He missed four games through suspension after he appeared to spit at Werder Bremen’s Ludwig Augustinsson. But has been benched only once this season, Klopp though thinks he has not been at fault.
Klopp said: “In the last few weeks he has had a really tough time. Schalke had a lot of problems this season but that is nothing to do with Ozan.
“He has a lot of quality and he is still a talent. In a stable team he can do a lot of things really good.”
“He’s not here because Wagner was his coach. Whenever he spoke about Ozan it was always positive.
Last few days, we didn’t speak. Everyone knows it all about Ozan. 20, fourth season in pro football. Schalke has a lot of problems but nothing to do with Ozan.
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“Ozan is still a talent and has proven a lot. He is here now in a stable team. He can help us and we can help him. Our situation is really strange. We are without our four centre-backs.