Jurgen Klopp could be without six first-team players when Liverpool pay Brighton and Hove Albion a visit at the Amex Stadium on Saturday evening.
Liverpool will be desperate to return to winning ways when they travel to the Amex Stadium to take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp though, has an injury crisis brewing within his squad, in the wake of their 2-1 loss to Wolves in the FA Cup third round.
There are no concerns whatsoever in the goalkeeping department, meaning Alisson Becker should return to the starting lineup after being rested on Monday. But, defence presents most of the major issues in the Liverpool squad, with Klopp in danger of being without three of the four recognised centre-backs.
Dejan Lovren (hamstring) and Joe Gomez (leg) will definitely miss out, with the duo likely to return towards the end of the month. Joel Matip (shoulder) has returned to training this week, with Klopp iterating during his pre-match press conference that Liverpool take a late call on his availability.
“Joel trained yesterday for the first time with the team, which is already really good but we have to see. We have to decide it day by day how he is doing, I am not 100 per cent sure. He feels good and that’s good for us, of course. Dejan [is] out and Joe, of course, [is] out.”
If Matip is unable to prove his fitness, Fabinho could reprise the centre-back role once again, after being deployed at the heart of the Liverpool defence against Wolves. And, Klopp touched on this topic as well.
“If you speak about Fabinho, if he has to play as a centre-half, for example – which is not sure in the moment – but if, he played it before. What we want is the natural understanding of the game because it’s still only football; if you are a holding six or a centre-half, with the ball it’s easier, without the ball it’s different because you don’t have a line behind you.”
As things stand, it is likely that Fabinho will partner van Dijk in the central defensive partnership, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson being the full-backs. In midfield, there are one or two issues as well, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson facing a race against time to make himself available.
“Hendo will train today for the first time, we will see what that then means exactly. Adam [is] out. All are improving obviously, that’s clear. I don’t know if a few are available and for a few I know they are not available, so that’s the situation.”
Henderson will seemingly only be fit enough to make the bench, meaning Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner will line up in the midfield pivot. The selection of the midfield pivot means Klopp will pick an attacking quartet.
As a result, Xherdan Shaqiri, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino should all start, with Salah leading the line for Liverpool against Brighton. Firmino will reprise the no. 10 role, with Mane and Shaqiri being the wide men.