Could Georgino Wijnaldum be Liverpool's surprise centre-back solution?
Liverpool’s defensive crisis has left Jurgen Klopp with very few options as the Reds face Manchester United this weekend in a crunch clash without Joe Gomez or Joel Matip, without doubts also surrounding Dejan Lovren’s fitness.
Gomez suffered a broken leg against Burnley whilst Matip broke his collarbone against Napoli in midweek. Now, midfielder Georgino Wijnaldum could emerge as a surprise candidate for the role.
The Dutchman played in the role previously for Klopp, lining up alongside Emre Can in a fixture against Brighton last season.
“It was difficult, really difficult,” Wijnaldum explained last season. “I’ve never played there before… It is really different from what I am used to because normally I am one line in front or in the attacking line.”
“The manager was running out of options back there. Emre had to play there too, but he’s quite used to that. You always need defenders, but this was a game when we didn’t have to defend that much.”
It is difficult to envisage that Wijnaldum would be first choice, and it seems likely that Klopp would rather gamble on the fitness of Lovren, rather than field the likes of Wijnaldum out of position.
Alternatives include youngsters such as Nathaniel Phillips or Ki-Jana Hoever, who have both trained with the first team this season, though Klopp is clearly running out of options.
Wijnaldum may come into the running, particularly with so many options to choose from in the middle of the park, though it could be a shock to see him start there against the Red Devils.
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