Like London buses.
You wait so long for one and two come along together. Sound familiar, Liverpool fans?
The champions have struggled to cope without the injured Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, who both picked up serious injuries earlier in the campaign.
Joel Matip can’t stay fit for longer than five minutes and now looks set to miss the rest of the campaign. Meanwhile, even Fabinho – who had been moved back to centre-back for much of the season – has now picked up a knock.
No wonder Liverpool made moves on transfer deadline day for not one, but TWO defenders.
Ben Davies arrived for a £2 million deal from Preston, while they also signed 20-year-old Ozan Kabak from Schalke on loan with an option to buy for £18 million in the summer.
Suddenly, Jurgen Klopp has a decision to make at who starts where.
While the two new arrivals may make their debuts at home to Brighton on Wednesday, Klopp and his squad will already be casting an eye to their title clash against Manchester City on Sunday.
The Reds trail Pep Guardiola’s side by four points having played an extra game and know they desperately need all three points at Anfield when the two sides meet.
But how will Klopp line up now that he’s got two actual defenders to call upon?
Let’s take a look:
Obviously (unless he picks up another injury in the next few days).
– Trent Alexander-Arnold
– Jordan Henderson
– Ozan Kabak
– Andy Robertson
Alexander-Arnold and Robertson pick themselves, while Henderson has shown his ability to play centre-back in recent weeks. His leadership is huge and would be a massive help playing alongside new signing Ozan Kabak. Is it too soon to chuck the youngster into the side against City? Possibly. But he’s played at the top level against the likes of Robert Lewandowski so is probably more ready than a defender coming from the Championship. Nat Phillips has performed well in the previous game and a half against Tottenham and West Ham so don’t be too surprised to see him keep his place. But we think Kabak may get the nod.
– Georginio Wijnaldum
If Fabinho recovers in time, we expect him to return to his defensive midfield role. That would be absolutely huge for Liverpool in such a big match. Thiago is enjoying his first consistent run in the side since he arrived in the summer and will likely line-up alongside Wijnaldum who, despite doubts over his future, has been brilliant in recent weeks. James Milner – who has been fantastic in the last two matches – will have to drop out.
– Sadio Mane
– Mohamed Salah
– Roberto Firmino
Mane should be fit in time to face City and there’s no way Klopp picks Xherdan Shaqiri or Divock Origi for this one.
The suggested line-up depends on a number of things. Whether Kabak is ready to be thrown straight into the biggest match of the season. It’s certainly a big ask but he has the advantage of being an actual defender.
Then, the fitness levels of both Fabinho and Mane. We imagine the club will be doing everything they possibly can to ensure the two stars are ready for the City game – even if it means they have to miss the Brighton match on Wednesday.