November 29, 2020

How Liverpool could line up without Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold – Mirror Online

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/how-liverpool-could-line-up-22994844

Liverpool’s defensive crisis has worsened with Joe Gomez picking up a potentially serious injury on England duty.

The centre-back is set to join Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho on the sidelines leaving manager Jurgen Klopp with a huge shortage at the back.

The Reds are also without right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold for the next few weeks with a calf injury leaving Andy Robertson as the only member of Klopp’s first-choice back four available for action.

And the German manager has several unorthodox options he could turn to as he looks to get by without Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez and Fabinho in the coming weeks.

Likely Premier League line-up:

Alisson, Williams, Matip, Phillips, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Salah, Mane, Firmino.

Neco Williams is set to step in for Alexander-Arnold, with Joel Matip emerging as the most senior centre-back.

Nathaniel Phillips, back from his loan spell at Stuttgart last season, is next in line after staying put at the club over the summer.

He is likely to partner Matip in Premier League action with Andy Robertson at left-back.

Likely Champions League line-up:

Alisson, N.Williams, Matip, R.Williams, Robertson, Henderson, Keita, Thiago, Salah, Mane, Jota.

Whilst Phillips is set for a Premier League call-up, he is not registered in Liverpool ’s Champions League squad.

Rhys Williams came on against Midtyjlland and started against Atalanta.

He is now in line to retain his place alongside Matip when they welcome the Serie A side to Anfield on November 25.

Alternative 1:

Alisson, Williams, Matip, Henderson, Robertson, Keita, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Salah, Mane, Firmino.

Jordan Henderson has previously played centre-back once before, in the Club World Cup against Monterray last season.

Klopp has admitted the midfielder could fill-in again at the back, whilst Andy Robertson is also under consideration to play the position.

Klopp recently said: ”We have still, obviously, other options like Hendo or Gini or James – or Robbo can play centre-half as well.

“They are all not smaller than Mascherano, for example, and he played pretty well in that position.”

Alternative 2:

Alisson, Williams, Matip, Robertson, Tsimikas, Henderson, Keita, Thiago, Salah, Mane, Firmino.

Liverpool opted to strengthen at left-back in the summer with Kostas Tsimikas arriving as cover for Andy Robertson.

Whilst he has not featured regularly so far, he could get his chance if Klopp moves the Scot into a centre-back role.

That would leave the likes of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner free to offer support in midfield to protect the back four.

Wildcard option:

Alisson, Williams, Henderson, Matip, Robertson, Tsimikas, Keita, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino.

Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.

Given the lack of personnel in defence, Klopp could opt to change his system entirely.

Moving to a back five could see Matip joined in defence by both Henderson and Robertson, a system which could suit their attributes and protect them further than a back four would.

That would also give Kostas Tsimikas and Neco Williams some more attacking freedom as wing-backs and give the Reds a new dimension with their key players out.