Liverpool defence in trouble as centre-back named in Olympic squad

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This was unexpected…

Portugal have named Tiago Ilori in their Olympic squad via an official announcement, meaning the centre-back will miss the first two or three games of Liverpool’s Premier League season.

The 23-year-old wouldn’t have started for us, but with Mamadou Sakho out with an achilles injury following his exoneration for ingesting an ‘illegal’ substance, Ilori was set to backup the starters…

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Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have begun pre-season together at the back, but with Martin Skrtel completing his switch to Fenerbahce today, Jurgen Klopp’s options after the senior pair are limited. Joe Gomez is expected to be the fourth choice centre-back for the campaign, but he’s yet to feature in pre-season and is still coming back from a debilitating injury which decimated 2015/16.

Without Sakho, Skrtel and now Ilori, Klopp is relying on Gomez to reach maximum fitness and support Lovren and Matip from the bench early on. If he’s not ready, returning loanee Andre Wisdom is next in line – but it’s not thought the Englishman has a long-term Anfield future.

Interestingly, Klopp encouraged Loris Karius to turn down Germany’s Olympic invitation, but has clearly allowed Ilori his. Perhaps this is because he has faith in the options at his disposal, or maybe he’s planning on bringing in a short-term option, in case of injury or suspension – much like he did with Steven Caulker in January.

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