By Dave Davis – @DaveD0106
‘I have a plan. We have options – a lot of players can play that position. Trent is still a young boy and you cannot push him through 20 games in a row. You have to be responsible.’
Jurgen Klopp appears clear in his mind about the options now available to him at right back.
The disappointing news that Joe Gomez’s confirmed fracture will keep him out for around six weeks, means the options across the defence suddenly looked scarce. Liverpool’s campaign is set to reach its busiest point and any injury, especially to a key player can ill be afforded. That doesn’t make it disastrous though.
Gomez’s versatility appears to have worked against him in this instance, as a rare foray at right back proved costly. The former Charlton man has shone alongside Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence, earning rave reviews from all sources.
Along with Gomez, Dejan Lovren is still recovering from concussion and with Ragnar Klavan gone in the summer the options at centre-back look limited. The Reds will head to Bournemouth on Saturday with Joel Matip as the only recognised partner available for van Dijk, in a position the Reds had until recently appeared to have strength in depth.
With many fans’ original concerns appearing to be cover at right back for Trent Alexander-Arnold, Klopp may be justified in his comments. 19-year-old Rafa Camacho enjoyed game time pre-season, with many Kopites hoping the Portuguese youngster will get his chance.
James Milner has proven more than capable of filling in at full-back, as he did at Bournemouth on Saturday, and is an experienced head that may be valuable in defence at present.
A feature in the first team for forgotten man Nathaniel Clyne appears further away each week, but it can’t be denied he has proven experience. Fabinho too has played at right back for Brazil in recent internationals.
Any knock or negative facial expression to van Dijk or Matip will be greeted by panic for many, but teams that win titles have to overcome tough hurdles. Jurgen Klopp’s side will need luck in what is likely to be their most challenging period to date.
Gomez’s injury is bad news for the player and team, but those available will determine the actual impact. Klopp clearly has options and a plan ready. Reds everywhere will hope they all prove successful.