Jurgen Klopp open to playing Jordan Henderson or Andy Robertson at centre-back amid Liverpool injury crisis ahead of West Ham’s visit… as he looks for ‘Javier Mascherano solution’
- Liverpool are suffering a defensive injury crisis ahead of West Ham’s visit
- Recognised centre backs Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are on the sidelines
- Fabinho, who slotted in at the back in midweek, suffered a hamstring injury
- Jurgen Klopp is considering playing Jordan Henderson or Andy Robertson there
- Or he could turn to younger players like Rhys Williams or Nathaniel Phillips
An injury crisis has left Liverpool short at the back ahead of Saturday evening’s game at Anfield and Klopp may either have to turn to youth to plug the gap or reposition one of his midfielders.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip out injured, Klopp has just one recognised first team centre-half – Joe Gomez – at his disposal.
Jurgen Klopp faces a defensive injury crisis as Liverpool take on West Ham on Saturday night
Fabinho, who had slotted in at the back, suffered a hamstring injury against Midtjylland
Klopp referenced ex-Liverpool player Javier Mascherano (right) when discussing the issue
Fabinho, who slotted into the defence for the midweek Champions League win over Midtjylland, suffered a hamstring injury and is ruled out.
Klopp could use captain Henderson, Robertson, James Milner or Georginio Wijnaldum to play in central defence for the visit of the Hammers.
Alternatively, he could turn to youth with Rhys Williams, 19, and Nathaniel Phillips, 23, who spent last season on loan at Stuttgart.
Klopp referenced Mascherano, the Argentine defensive midfielder who often filled in at centre-back, while discussing the issue on Friday.
‘I know Nat [Phillips] the longest so I was really happy with his development. Since I know him he made big, big steps and is an exceptional character,’ Klopp said.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson may have to slot into a makeshift defence for the game
Andrew Robertson could switch across from left-back to play a central defensive role
James Milner is another player who could potentially fit in at centre-back for Liverpool
‘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 and now I have to make a decision.
‘And we have still, obviously, other options like Hendo or Gini or James – or Robbo can play centre-half as well.
Klopp mentioned Nathaniel Phillips as a possibility – he spent last season on loan at Stuttgart
19-year-old defender Rhys Williams, seen playing against Midtjylland, is another possibility
‘They are all not smaller than 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 tomorrow night.’
Left-back Robertson has never played a competitive game at centre-back though Henderson did fit in there during the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup against Monterrey.