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How should Liverpool’s defence line up without Trent Alexander-Arnold or Joel Matip?

(Photo by Tomas Sisk / Photo News via Getty Images)

Liverpool

How should Liverpool’s defence line up without Trent Alexander-Arnold or Joel Matip?

Liverpool only have four defenders in their squad.

Liverpool face Genk in the Champions League tonight and they will be without two key players.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is missing with a virus while Joel Matip is rested with a sore knee, the club’s official website confirms. This presents Jurgen Klopp with a selection dilemma.

He only has four recognised defenders in his squad to travel to Belgium. But there are some midfielders who can operate in the defence. With an eye on the Tottenham Hotspur clash this weekend, how should Klopp’s defence look tonight?

Right-back

Alexander-Arnold is the undisputed first-choice right-back at Liverpool. With Nathaniel Clyne out with an ACL injury, there is no natural back-up right-back on Liverpool’s books.

Joe Gomez is comfortable playing at right-back and he will be the favourite to start. Alternatively, Fabinho could drop from midfield and so could James Milner.

Left-back

(Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Andrew Robertson is the regular starting left-back for Liverpool. The Scotsman is fit and in the squad but he might be rested. If so, Gomez or Milner could operate on the left side of the defence.

 

Central defence

This season, Klopp has preferred a pairing of Matip and Virgil Van Dijk. Gomez was always likely to play in this game anyway to rest one of the regular back four – but will he play in central defence?

Without Matip, Klopp is forced into making at least one change in central defence. Dejan Lovren is also in the squad so it is between him, Van Dijk and Gomez for the two spots.

How should Klopp line them up?

Gomez and Lovren look nailed on to start this game. Lovren will operate in central defence so Klopp needs to decide who to rest for Spurs: Van Dijk or Robertson.

If Van Dijk is rested, Gomez will play in central defence, Robertson on the left and Milner at right-back. If Robertson is rested, Gomez will move to right-back, Van Dijk in the middle and Milner at left-back.

The latter makes more sense. Robertson’s role as a modern-day attacking left-back demands a lot of energy and he needs to be well-rested for Tottenham. Gomez and Milner can operate on either side of Lovren and Van Dijk against Genk.

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