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Joe Gomez has reportedly suffered a serious injury on international duty, as Liverpool's defensive crisis continues to worsen.
After winning the title last season, the sale of Dejan Lovren meant that a portion of Reds supporters had some concerns over their depth at the heart of defence.
But ahead of their 2020/21 opener vs Leeds, Jurgen Klopp backed the decision to not bring in further reinforcements.
“The situation is obvious,” he said. “We have a lot of centre-backs, pretty much all of them apart from the three we had last year are all pretty young, which is good.
“A lot of space for development and they all did well; Sepp did well, Ki-Jana prefers right-back but did well, Billy did really well considering his age especially, and Nat Phillips came back from Stuttgart full of confidence.
“But Fabinho can play it as well, he did it against Bayern in the Champions League once. It worked pretty well because he is a smart player.”
As the window ended, Liverpool also opted to sell Ki-Jana Hoever to Wolves – another decision that split the Anfield masses.
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However, with just days until the deadline, Klopp doubled down on not signing a defender, citing Fabinho’s ability to play centre-back as a contributing factor.
“I don’t expect a lot to be honest,” he said in October.
“You think you are well covered, we have three absolutely top, top, top centre-halves. We young players in line, Fabinho in the back hand, if you want, and then all of a sudden three players are out for a few days and that is not nice.
“But you cannot solve that in the transfer market. That is just not possible.
“We will not even try if nothing more serious happens. I hope we don’t have to try that. If the situation stays like it is at the moment then no there will be nothing.”
And that was then the injuries hit, since the window closed, Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended with an ACL injury, Fabinho and Joel Matip have both missed games, while Gomez could now face an extended spell on the sidelines.
After the injury to Van Dijk, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher hinted that it was a mistake to not sign a replacement for Lovren, a claim that Klopp angrily hit back at.
He said: “We went into the season with three centre-backs plus Fabinho as cover and some youngsters.
Georginio Wijnaldum gives fiery response to being asked about Liverpool contract situation
“It’s hard to have four world-class centre-halves. If anyone wants to tell us we made a mistake [by not signing a centre-back], I think Carragher mentioned already.
“There are a few reasons why they [pundits] don’t do this job.”
With 11 games separating the champions and the January transfer window, Klopp’s commitment to his academy players will be put to the test.
If he can get through this crisis, it may be an even more impressive feat than last season.
- Jurgen Klopp
- Liverpool FC
- Virgil van Dijk
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