Liverpool legend John Aldridge thinks Jordan Henderson could be the answer to Jurgen Klopp’s defensive woes amid an injury crisis.
Liverpool faced another blow in midweek when Joe Gomez reportedly picked up a serious injury during international duty with England. However, in an interview with Sky Sports, former club legend John Aldridge believes that Jurgen Klopp still has options to tackle this massive injury crisis this season, at least for the short term.
“We’ve got Fabinho who can go there, he’s got players like Henderson and [Gini] Wijnaldum who have played there but only a few times. They can do a good job. The young lads have done terrific but on a long-term basis are they good enough at this moment? I don’t know.”, Aldridge told Sky Sports, notably suggesting that the midfielder Henderson could potentially be deployed at centre-back.
Klopp, during his ongoing spell at Anfield, has not been shy when it comes to trying out new roles for certain players, especially in order to tackle injury problems. Throughout the years, he has played James Milner as a fullback and Fabinho as a centre-back while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been utilised as a central midfielder at times.
However, it is perhaps fair to point out that these players were already quite accustomed to these roles during their previous adventures at Manchester City, AS Monaco and Arsenal respectively.
For Henderson, he has played at centre-back only once throughout his ongoing seven-year spell at Liverpool. It happened roughly a year ago against Monterry, in the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup, which is infamously known for congesting the fixture list, especially for top European clubs, who already have a busy schedule in December.
Unfortunately, the hectic nature of the 2020/21 campaign, combined with the heap of injury problems might once again force Klopp to deploy Henderson at centre-back.
In recent weeks, young academy products like Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have stepped up in the absence of the injured trifecta of Virgil van Dijk, Gomez and Fabinho. But, they don’t possess the experience and the pedigree needed to thrive in the Premier League, and with no Gomez to complement them at centre-back, Liverpool simply cannot afford to take the risk, especially at this point of the campaign.
Henderson, therefore, should be an interesting option. The Englishman has already established himself as one of the most consistent and solid defensive midfielders in the Premier League. He just needs to replicate those performances at the heart of the Liverpool backline, though it remains to be seen how he can adapt to a role where he will be asked to provide incisive forward passes.
In the meantime, the Reds are already in the hunt for a new central defender. They have notably been linked with a move for Inter Milan star Milan Skriniar, although they could face stiff competition from league rivals Tottenham Hotspur.