With Van Dijk out for months, who will Klopp turn to now?

Monday, October 19th, 2020 00:00 |
Everton’s English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (centre) tackles Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (left) during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on October 17, 2020. Photo/AFP

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Since his £75million arrival in January 2018, Virgil Van Dijk has been Liverpool’s leader and the most crucial component in Jurgen Klopp’s machine. But now, they will have to try and cope without him.

Following a shocking tackle from Jordan Pickford on Saturday in a controversy-ridden Merseyside Derby - which went unpunished - the Liverpool centre back suffered a potentially season-ending injury to his knee. 

Here, Sportsmail lists all the Liverpool boss’ options. 


The defensive midfielder has become a key player since his arrival from Monaco two years ago, following a period where the Brazilian played in a variety of positions for the Ligue 1 club, including right back. 

However, despite his efficiency at breaking up the play in the centre of the park, Fabinho may well be utilised as a defender in Van Dijk’s absence. 

The 26-year-old filled in alongside the Dutchman against Chelsea last month and was a standout performer, nullifying Timo Werner and looking more than comfortable in a deeper role. 

Jordan Henderson

Similarly to Fabinho, the Liverpool captain is a workhorse in midfield but could be used as cover at the back.

Though an uncommon position, Henderson did play at centre back alongside Van Dijk in the Fifa Club World Cup last December, when the Reds beat Mexican side Monterrey in the semi-finals. 

On that occasion, the England international performed admirably and should Van Dijk be missing for the rest of this season, it would not be completely unfathomable that Henderson fills in at centre back. 

Nat Phillips  

Rumoured with a host of Championship clubs right up until the domestic transfer deadline on Friday, Nat Phillips stayed put - and that could prove to be a fortunate outcome for Liverpool and their ambitions.

The 23-year-old, who made his first-team debut in the FA Cup third-round victory against Everton last season, is a natural centre half and could make the step up to the starting XI, particularly with the Reds playing two matches a week over the next month. 

Sepp Van Den Berg 

The 18-year-old joined Liverpool last summer for £1.3million from the academy at Ajax and is highly-rated by the coaching staff at the Reds. 

He made his first start against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup last season, in a penalty shoot-out victory following a 5-5 draw, and has been amongst the first-team group since his arrival on Merseyside. 

Though a sudden step up to the starting XI had looked unlikely, the teenager will certainly be considered by Klopp.

Billy Koumetio 

The 17-year-old was the most impressive performer amongst the academy group during the Reds’ brief pre-season in August. 

The Frenchman only signed his first professional contract in the same month but would have made a notable impression on Klopp during the first-team camp in Austria. 

Rhys Williams 

For all the young imports from abroad, English centre back Rhys Williams was the player actually picked by Klopp in a game this season: against Lincoln in the Carabao Cup third-round win. 

Playing alongside Van Dijk, the 19-year-old looked stable and secure in what was a comfortable 7-2 victory. 

Williams has been with Liverpool since the age of 10, and also started in the next round against Arsenal where he did not look out of his depth.

And after being knocked out of the competition, Williams will now be chomping at the bit to seize on a surprise second opportunity to break into the first team. - Daily Mail

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