Jamie Carragher has suggested that Jurgen Klopp will be faced with a selection conundrum going into Liverpool’s opening league clash with Daniel Farke’s Norwich City.
Both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez made cameo appearances in the Reds’ pre-season defeat to Hertha Berlin, though there is a sense that the club will need to handle both carefully in light of their recovery from long-term injuries.
“I don’t really envy Jurgen Klopp picking that centre-back partnership for the first game,” the 43-year-old was quoted as saying by TEAMtalk.
“Right now, if everyone is at their absolute best, the partnership has always been Gomez and Van Dijk, but I think it is going to be difficult for them to be at their absolute best as both have had serious, long-term injuries.
“Whether Konate can break that one up… and Matip always comes in and does a very good job.
“It’s a difficult one to answer as I don’t think all the centre-backs will be 100 per cent fit and firing, they’ll need to get confidence and games, get that belief back.”
With the Merseysiders’ performances having notably dipped since the side’s first-choice defensive duo took to the sidelines, the temptation will be to field the strongest-XI available.
While handing Van Dijk and Gomez only a few minutes and there until they are fully back up to speed could risk the start of our season, it’s a better risk to take than playing with either of the duo’s recovery.
Though worth taking with a pinch of salt considering the nature of the ties in question, Ibrahima Konate has impressed in a high line role in pre-season alongside Joel Matip, potentially suggesting that we have a solid partnership available to hold the fort in the meantime.
We’d certainly expect Klopp to manage our starters’ return to competitive action extremely carefully given how much we’ve missed them since the latter end of 2020.
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