Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has not got the right qualities to play as a centre-back, according to Reds legend Steve Nicol. Henderson has been suggested as a possible option at the back to help ease Liverpool’s injury crisis. The news this week that Joe Gomez is set to miss the majority of this season due to a knee injury added to last month’s blow that Virgil van Dijk is set to face a similar fate.
Midfielder Fabinho deputised at the back before he himself suffered a hamstring injury in October.
The Brazilian is close to making a return but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is still left with a dilemma of who to play in the centre of his defence.
Joel Matip has played just five Premier League matches in 12 months, while Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams only have one career appearance in the English top-flight between them.
But Nicol still thinks they would be better options than moving Henderson into the back line.
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“No, I don’t think so, Jordan Henderson’s not built for that,” Nicol told ESPN FC.
“The likes of Fabinho and Fernandinho, at City and Liverpool, the reason they can do it is that they play a game that is suited to reading it, breaking it up, cool, calm, collected, organising, that’s pretty much what a centre-back does.
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“The likes of Jordan Henderson, he’s all about energy and closing the ball down quickly – you can’t do that at centre-back.
“You step out and leave a hole, good players will kill you.
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“So there is no obvious central midfielder that can go back in there.
“You’re left with two rookies [Williams and Phillips] and a guy who can’t play two games in a row [Matip].”
Nicol reckons Liverpool must spend big in the January transfer window and says RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano is the player he would target.
“I think right now Liverpool absolutely, because of this injury, have to go out and spend a lot of money,” he added.
“Joe Gomez, at 23 years of age, has already had two major surgeries. That means the chances of it happening again rise.
“You’re talking about percentages of Liverpool defending [the title], you talk about percentages of a player having another bad injury.
“So I think this forces them into it and they should go and get Upamecano.”
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