Liverpool entertain bottom club Watford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, but injuries to defenders will mean Jurgen Klopp has to do a little mixing and matching with his side for the contest.
This will be the Reds’ last top flight game before Christmas, as they head to Qatar for the World Club Cup after the match, and they will be bidding to go there unbeaten in their league campaign.
Liverpool have been the strongest team by far this season, from a domestic standpoint, but they haven’t been as watertight at the back as in previous campaigns, and could have a few issues there for the visit of Watford.
The Reds already had Joel Matip on the sidelines with a knee issue, and rather unhelpfully given the matches that are to come for the Merseyside outfit, Dejan Lovren picked up an injury against Salzburg in midweek, and he will miss the clash with the Hornets.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp went through his remaining selection options at the heart of his defence, and explained why the Croatia international would miss the game, when he spoke to the media ahead of the contest.
“He is out, muscle this time – more serious than last time,” the Reds official website quotes him as saying.
“We don’t have a timeframe.”
“It’s a concern, how you can imagine,”
“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, ‘Are you ready or not?’ Apart from that, we have to be creative; we have the kids, of course, with Ki-Jana [Hoever] and Sepp [van den Berg].
“We have defensive-minded midfielders, there are different systems where you can use different kind 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.”
This news comes at a bad time for Liverpool, who compete in the World Club Cup semi-final in Qatar on Wednesday with the final to potentially come next weekend, and then a busy period when they get back in England.