James Pearce has acknowledged that Jurgen Klopp faces a selection “dilemma” ahead of the pivotal tie with Manchester United, asserting that choosing either Nathaniel Phillips or Rhys Williams would be a “risk”.
Liverpool have been without their first-choice centre-back duo of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for quite a while now, leaving the German with the difficult decision of who to pair Fabinho with in the club’s most important game of the season yet.
“I really want to see a midfield of Thiago, Henderson and Wijnaldum,” Pearce said on The Athletic Q&A. “However, clearly that then means putting your faith in either Williams or Phillips alongside Fabinho. A risk but I think it’s one I’d take.”
The Reds will face Manchester United in the greatly anticipated top-of-the-table clash this Sunday, with the latter three points ahead of their rivals.
We at the EOTK would have to agree with The Athletic journalist on the unenviability of Klopp’s choice going into the tie: partner Fabinho with an inexperienced defender? Or drop a reliable midfielder back as a makeshift centre-half?
It would be a risk naming either one of the Academy graduates in the starting-XI, however, it’s one that the former Dortmund man arguably has to make, if he doesn’t wish to lose, potentially, Jordan Henderson’s presence in midfield.
No-one could have anticipated the club being without Gomez and Van Dijk for much of the season, though it is more than apparent that our backup options aren’t sufficient for the task at hand.
Joel Matip – arguably one of the top Premier League centre-backs when fit – will inevitably end up being replaced, but the upcoming meeting with our rivals this weekend will give the likes of Phillips or Williams the chance to prove their worth.