Jurgen Klopp may be rueing his decision this summer not to sign a new centre-back after Virgil van Dijk’s setback over the weekend.
Commanding centre-back Van Dijk is expected to be out for much of the season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury following a rash challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Merseyside Derby.
The Dutchman is expected to undergo knee surgery and will be out for many months.
Van Dijk’s importance to Liverpool and their defence is certainly no secret.
But Jurgen Klopp is facing a struggle in terms not only of quality at centre-half, but also numbers.
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Dejan Lovren was sold to Zenit Saint Petersburg over the summer, and while there was talk of replacing the Croatian, it never came to fruition.
Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are now not only his first choice options, but seemingly his only natural centre-backs.
Fabinho has covered well there in the past, while Jordan Henderson was forced to play in the role for the Club World Cup final.
Sepp van den Berg will likely be used when needed, and Nathaniel Phillips is on the club’s books too, despite having never played a first team game.
Klopp admitted that Van Dijk’s injury was “not good” after the draw with Everton on Saturday.
"Virgil played I don't know how many games in a row, he plays with pain, but he couldn't play on," said the German.
"That's not good."
He also criticised the decision not to award his side a penalty because Van Dijk was ruled to be offside, despite Pickford then clattering into his star man.
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"It was a clear penalty I saw and then we saw the flag went up,” Klopp went on. “I thought they would still look at the foul but that didn't happen.
"I don't want to say Jordan Pickford wanted to do it but it is not a challenge a goalie can do in the box."
Liverpool are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Ajax in the Champions League to open their group stage account.
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