Date published: Saturday 31st October 2020 8:52
Jurgen Klopp is refusing to get himself into a lather after naming seven players he says can fill in for Liverpool at the centre of defence.
The Reds go into Saturday evening’s clash against West Ham with just Joe Gomez their only fit senior centre-half.
Following the season-ending ACL injury sustained by Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have now lost stand-in Fabinho. While the Brazilian’s hamstring injury isn’t as bad as first feared, it still leaves the Reds light at the back.
With Joel Matip also on the sidelines, Klopp insisted on Friday that he was “excited” to find a solution to the issue.
“Maybe enjoy is the wrong word, but I realised long ago that life is a challenge and this is a challenge 100%. Once you get over the incident it is all about solutions. And the solutions I am excited about them that is true,” said Klopp
“I see it as a challenge and an opportunity. But we play games every three days and this will stay a challenge, but we are fine and we will deal with the situation.”
Klopp, however, has now elaborated more on the situation and has named seven players he knows can play alongside Gomez.
Nat Phillips, Billy Koumetio and Rhys Williams are the options from within the club’s youth system. Klopp has also named four first-team players who can play out of position.
Klopp does appear to be leaning towards Phillips as he was on loan at Stuttgart last season. That’s despite Klopp admitting he was close to leaving in the summer.
“I know Nat [Phillips] the longest so I was really happy with this development. Since I know him he made big, big steps and is an exceptional character,” said Klopp.
“I said it before that the little problem was that we were all convinced, how it looked all the time. There were a lot of clubs interested in him and in the end, maybe because of the coronavirus crisis, nobody had the money to do it. But we expected him to leave the club, to be honest.
“Thank God he didn’t, but that’s the reason why he is not in the Champions League squad, the only reason.
“He cannot be on the bench in the Champions League. But he is available for the Premier League like all three are and now I have to make a decision.”
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Klopp names four potential stand-ins
Klopp is adamant he can also call on other senior stars to fill-in in defence should the need require.
“We have still, obviously, other options like Hendo [Jordan Henderson] or Gini [Wijnaldum] or James [Milner]. Or Robbo [Andy Robertson] can play centre-half as well. They are all not smaller than [Javier] Mascherano, for example, and he played pretty well in that position.
“So yes, we have obviously still one or two options and one of them, we will choose. Which one, you have to switch on the television Saturday night.”
PREDICTIONS: Hammers to end long Liverpool run; wins for Man Utd, Spurs, Leeds