Jurgen Klopp says he’s hoping to avoid having to use “creative” methods to overcome Liverpool’s centre-back shortage.
The German confirmed Dejan Lovren will be sidelined for Saturday’s visit of Watford, while Joel Matip has been out since October with a knee injury.
Liverpool’s injury concerns: Five things to know…
- Joel Matip hasn’t featured since October with a knee problem.
- Dejan Lovren has now been ruled out with a “serious” muscle problem.
- Fabinho has filled in as an auxiliary centre-back for Liverpool in the past but is also injured.
- Klopp admits he can get creative in finding solutions to his centre-back shortage.
- But he hopes to avoid that by protecting Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
That leaves the Reds with just Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez as senior centre-back options heading into the busy festive period, while Fabinho’s injury means Klopp cannot call upon the Brazilian as an auxiliary defender.
And although Klopp could call upon youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever or reshuffle his system if needed, he does admit he’d rather have Van Dijk and Gomez “packed in cotton wool” to keep them fresh.
“It’s a concern, how you can imagine,” said the Liverpool boss. “It’s not the first time we are in a situation like this. Last year, one game Fabinho played at centre-half. Unfortunately, he is out as well. It’s not too cool.
“In the moment we have two – we should take care of them, pack them in cotton wool and ask them what they want to do in training. Apart from that, we have to be creative; we have the kids, of course, with Ki-Jana [Hoever] and Sepp [van den Berg].
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
“We have defensive-minded midfielders, there are different systems where you can use different kinds of defenders as well. That’s how it is. In the moment, I have a lot of ideas but I hope for most of them I never have to use them, to be honest.”
On Lovren’s injury, Klopp added: “He is out. It’s muscle this time – more serious than last time. We don’t have a timeframe.”
Liverpool currently sit eight points clear of Leicester City atop the Premier League table having won 15 of their 16 games so far this season.
Saturday’s opponents Watford, on the other hand, have won just once and are stranded at the bottom of the table with nine points.