Liverpool could be forced to copy Barcelona and the home side Pep Guardiola dreams of


After losing Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez – half of their top four picks – in the span of four days, Liverpool need to get creative. Virgil van Dijk is out already, Fabinho is on his way home but has already missed games with a muscle injury this season, and Joel Matip’s story of staying in shape is difficult to say the least.

This means Jurgen Klopp has a decision to make over the next 11 games – how many games Liverpool need to play before the January transfer window opens.

Liverpool could offer a short-term option on a free transfer, reminiscent of Steven Caulker’s emergency signing, but if they choose to follow what they have, the options are clear.

Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips both came alongside Gomez and did well, but neither are used to playing a lot of top-level football.

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If Liverpool beat Atalanta in the Champions League in their next European game, it would relieve the pressure from the last two group matches, as the Reds would be in the knockout stage, and playing the duo would be less risky.

In the Premier League, however, where every game counts, other more seasoned and experienced players might be preferred over more than one-off.

As discussed on the podcast, against Leicester – as long as Matip is still in good shape and Fabinho is back from his problem, two things that are not certain – then they will be center-backs.

But they won’t be able to play 11 games in just under six weeks, whether they can stay fit during that time or not.

If Klopp needed another option to face, say, Wolves at the start of December, or Fulham a week later, he has options that have played there in the past that could see him field an inspired team. of Barcelona.

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Pep Guardiola once said he would play with a squad full of central midfielders if he could, due to their ability to defend themselves primarily by retaining possession rather than placing or directing crosses clearly.

In fact, at Barcelona, ​​on several occasions he has played with six central midfielders of the team.

In the 2011 UEFA Super Cup, for example, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano were both converted to center-backs. Mascherano was there initially more like a stopgap, with both Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, but ended up playing there long term.

In the midfield there was Xavi Hernandez, Seydou Keita and Cesc Fabregas, with Andres Iniesta in front of them.

If Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita are in good shape, and Curtis Jones also an option, Liverpool could be forced into something similar.

They could be used alongside Jordan Henderson in midfield, with James Milner at right-back and Gini Wijnaldum falling in defense, alongside, according to Fabinho, the most durable of the Brazilian and Matip.

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Wijnaldum has played pretty much everywhere during his career and played in a back line against Brighton for Klopp in December 2017 when needed.

It may well be necessary at some point, where Liverpool could field up to six central midfielders on the pitch once – three in the bottom four and three more in their usual berths.

Klopp and Liverpool have entered the season with a plethora of options in midfield and just three center-backs. We can see the end result of this by the start of the calendar year.


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