The news that Joe Gomez picked up an injury today – which the Daily Mail have described as a serious knee issue – hit us like a tonne of bricks.
It’s simply not fair what’s happening to our players, this term – and we feel for them.
The list of injuries we’ve had so far is so extensive it’s not worth typing out, but with Virgil van Dijk out for the season – it’s at centre-back that we’re in most bother.
If Gomez is sidelined for a considerable amount of time, and it’s important we don’t speculate on an exact timeframe just yet, we could theoretically be in a position where Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips are our two centre-backs – given the difficulty Joel Matip has in staying fit.
But with Fabinho, usually sturdy and reliable, set for a return to action after this godforsaken international break, we could pair him with a currently fit Matip in defence v Leicester on November 21.
That pairing is strong, tall, physical and brilliant on the ball. It’s actually about as good as anything else in the Premier League, we’d argue.
If Matip cannot play, and there’ll be games when he can’t, we’d suggest fielding our captain Jordan Henderson at the back. He’s played there before and you can absolutely guarantee he’d let nobody down and also provide leadership in an area of uncertainty.
Hendo and Fab at the back would be something we could consider if Thiago is fit enough to run the game from no.6. If the Spaniard is healthy, he can anchor our side, enabling the likes of Gini WIjnaldum, Naby Keita, James Milner, Curtis Jones and the almost forgotten Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to compete for the spots either side in our best 4-3-3 system.
We don’t think Jurgen Klopp can use a 4-2-4 too much more without senior centre-backs behind the midfielders.
Obviously, our theories rely on players staying fit – and the way this season is going – you can assume there’ll be some more issues going forward.
But if we consider Fabinho as simply a centre-half until January, when Klopp can buy, we look a little more well-stocked. And if Thiago can cement the deep-lying midfield role, Hendo can also do a job in the back-line.
It’s not ideal, but we don’t think we can risk Phillips alongside Williams yet.
For now, we’re hoping the news on Gomez isn’t too bad and we welcome him back sooner rather than later.