Jurgen Klopp faces a huge challenge in quenching the thirst for success at Liverpool and this task has just become more difficult with news of a nasty injury.
Joe Gomez had shown enough talent in his short Reds career to become a potential star of Klopp’s rebuilding project, but after damaging a cruciate knee ligament the precocious teenage defender is set to miss the remainder of what was looking like a highly-promising season.
Liverpool’s summer import form Charlton, who shot to prominence under Brendan Rodgers in the early part of the campaign, suffered the injury on duty with England’s U21s and could face surgery before starting his rehabilitation.
Although Rodgers played Gomez primarily as a left-back when affording him five Premier League appearances, the youngster was bought as a centre-half, which is sure to be his best position in the future.
This can only give Klopp cause for genuine concern, as the German tactician is left with a slim amount of quality in the central defensive department to choose from.
For the past two seasons, Martin Skrtel’s name has pretty much been the first on the teamsheet under Rodgers and the Slovakian international is still the most reliable centre-half on the books.
While Kolo Toure also offers a wealth of Premier League experience, the Ivorian’s lack of regular game time and susceptibility to a mistake, always increase the nerves among supporters when his named in the XI.
That leaves big-money signings Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho as the only viable partners for Skrtel, as Klopp has shown his preference for a back four, over a three, when in charge of Borussia Dortmund.
In particular Lovren has developed an army of critics for his performances since joining from Southampton, while Frenchman Sakho is not without his detractors for his lethargic style.
It’s most probable that Klopp goes for the former Paris St-Germain skipper over the Croatian, but deploying Emre Can in an unsuited position is a Rodgers-ism Klopp will surely wish to depart from.
With his physique, aerial ability and composure in possession, there is every chance Gomez could have forged himself a place in the side at centre-half, but now that opportunity is off the table for a sustained period..
Whichever defensive unit Klopp runs with for his first game in charge against Tottenham, are priced at 11/4 to keep a clean sheet at White Hart Lane.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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