Jurgen Klopp has outlined three alternatives at right-back as he works to determine who will start on the first day of the new season.
The injured Nathaniel Clyne is yet to have featured this pre-season and isn’t expected to return to fitness in time for Liverpool’s opener against Watford.
Klopp has since turned a focus towards readying his first choice full-back’s possible replacements, with three Reds youngsters all set to compete for the role.
“How you know, Joe can play both positions [centre-back and right-back] so it makes absolute sense that we try both positions, especially in our situation with [Nathaniel] Clyne injured,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He’s on the way back but he’s had no pre-season so far so, for him, it will not only be tight for Watford, it’s pretty much impossible.”
“So we have, in the moment, three options for this position: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe and Jon Flanagan. All of them played the position and now we have to bring them through the next one-and-a-half weeks and hopefully Clyney can come back after this.”
“We have to make a decision.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold is seemingly the front-runner for the starting position having been a standout performer during the club’s summer preparations.
The 18-year-old was in particularly impressive form in Tuesday’s emphatic 3-0 win over Bayern Munich, in which he won an individual duel with Franck Ribéry.
Joe Gomez has similarly enjoyed a strong pre-season, looking in excellent shape after missing much of 2016 with a long-term knee injury.
Though his future seemingly lies as a centre-back, his sheer athleticism and composure on the ball has seen him emerge as a useful full-back option.
One surprise candidate for the role is Jon Flanagan, who has been working incredibly hard over the summer as he looks to fight for a future on Merseyside.
The 24-year-old endured a difficult loan-spell with Burnley last season but has since returned to Liverpool with an admirable motivation to prove himself to Klopp.
Flanagan had previously been tipped to depart this summer, although that could now change given Clyne’s setback.
An interesting battle for the starting spot is on.