Redknapp warns Klopp: ‘Everyone knows you’re desperate so prices are going to get inflated’; Joe Gomez has just undergone knee surgery; Virgil van Dijk also out with long-term knee injury; Fabinho and Joel Matip have been struggling with injuries in recent games as well
Football Expert & Columnist
Friday 13 November 2020 13:11, UK
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp must bring in defensive cover when the transfer window reopens in January after Joe Gomez joined Virgil van Dijk on the club’s lengthening injury list, says Jamie Redknapp.
Gomez, 23, underwent successful surgery on Thursday after sustaining a serious knee injury during England training the previous day, with Liverpool hopeful he will be able to play some football again towards the end of this season.
However, with Van Dijk having also picked up a long-term injury knee against Everton in October, Liverpool can now call upon on just one experienced central defender in Joel Matip, who himself only returned from injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Man City.
Klopp can utilise the likes of Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams and Sepp van den Berg, but that trio are all short of experience, while Fabinho – who had been used by the German as a makeshift central defender in Van Dijk’s absence – is also currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.
The question now will be what Liverpool may look to do in the winter transfer window, which opens on January 2, but while Redknapp thinks it will not be easy to sign a quality defender then, he has still urged Klopp to strengthen in the new year.
Meanwhile, Gomez joining Van Dijk on the Liverpool injury list will put huge stress on the rest of the squad, Redknapp believes.
Speaking to the latest Pitch to Post podcast, Sky Sports pundit Redknapp says the pressure will now increase on an already-depleted Liverpool, and drew on his own injury experiences with England.
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He said: “I’m choked for Joe Gomez if it is a bad injury. He’s a young man who has already had knee injuries and come back brilliantly. I’m a big fan of his, he seems like a really good, down to earth player.
“I remember seeing him many years ago playing for Charlton in the FA Youth Cup and thinking ‘this is a star of the future’ and he’s certainly proved that at Liverpool. I just hope it’s not going to be anything too serious.
“From an England point of view, it’s a disappointment for Gareth Southgate, but for Jurgen Klopp, if this is a long-term one and you’ve got no Virgil, no Joe Gomez, that puts an enormous amount of stress on this squad from a team that were red-hot favourites at the start of the year.
“It’s certainly going to change things and for everybody else involved, that back two have been so impressive at times. It’s not been easy with no Virgil at the moment, but no Virgil and no Gomez is going to make it even more difficult.
“I suffered with injuries playing for England and it’s really hard to deal with because you’re so proud that you’re there, but you also know it’s costing you an enormous amount of time in your career.
“I broke my ankle twice playing for England, tore my hamstring playing for England, it cost me an enormous amount of time. Of course you wouldn’t swap it for the world, but there is something so frustrating because it should be the highlight to play for your country but when you come back injured, it’s frustrating for everybody.
“Right now, Liverpool need Joe. I thought he was unlucky with the penalty decision [against Man City] but his form has been really good and he’s looked like a real leader.
“When you’ve got someone like Van Dijk who is so instrumental and he leads from the front, sometimes you can afford to hide behind someone like that who is so great but without Virgil, everyone else has to step up and become a leader.
“I’m sure we were going to see Joe impress even more than before because of the pressure that was perhaps on him and you become even more serious about your business because you can’t rely on the colossus of Van Dijk.”
Aldridge: Klopp has to buy, Henderson to deputise
Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes Jurgen Klopp will have already been planning to make a defensive signing in January and Joe Gomez’s injury will have underlined the need for one.
Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk for several months; Joel Matip, Fabinho and now Gomez have all been injured in the first period of the season.
Matip is Liverpool’s only fit first-term regular centre-back but Nathaniel Phillips, 23, and Rhys Williams, 19, have both impressed when they have deputised this season.
“I think he has to [buy in January], Aldridge told Sky Sports News. “With all due respect to Joel Matip he doesn’t have a great record with injuries. Fabinho can go in there. (Jordan) Henderson and (Gini) Wijnaldum have played there. The young lads have done terrific. But long-term are they good enough? I don’t know.
“I think he has to. But I think he [Jurgen Klopp] knew that before [Gomez’s injury]. It just underlines the problem.”
Liverpool face Premier League leaders Leicester in their next match after the international break and could be without three of their first-choice back four.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss that match after injuring his calf during the 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Sunday.
Aldridge believes Jordan Henderson would be better suited to dealing with Jamie Vardy and Co ahead of Phillips and Williams.
He added: “Going forward Liverpool frighten teams. So it is not like teams are going to come out and fly out at Liverpool. Leicester in the next game and (Jamie) Vardy is a bit scary.
“Personally I’d go with Henderson [vs Leicester] but the manager knows better and whenever he has put the younger players in they haven’t let him down. It would be difficult for the young lads [to face Vardy].”
What does Liverpool’s fixture schedule look like?
While the extent of Gomez’s injury is yet to be determined, it is another defensive blow for Liverpool.
The winter transfer window opens on January 2 and the Reds could be in the market for defenders if Gomez also faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but what are their fixtures like until then?
Jurgen Klopp’s side return to action on Saturday, November 21 when they take on current league leaders Leicester, who they are just one point and two places behind in the Premier League table.
Liverpool’s remaining 2020 fixtures
In December, Liverpool will face Wolves and Tottenham at home as well as tricky away trips to Crystal Palace and Newcastle among their Premier League fixtures. They will also face Southampton on Saturday, January 2 – the day the winter transfer window opens.
Of course, there is also the Champions League group stage to tackle before the new year. Liverpool have three wins from three so far, and have two home fixtures to come – firstly, against Atalanta on Wednesday, November 25, before Ajax on Tuesday, December 1. A final away trip to Midtjylland follows on Wednesday, December 9.
Pitch to Post International Preview: Jamie Redknapp on Joe Gomez’s injury, England’s areas to improve; plus Scotland and N.Ireland play-off build-up
In an international week special, Jamie Redknapp joins Kate Burlaga to react to Joe Gomez’s injury news and, along with Peter Smith, analyses where England must strengthen ahead of next year’s European Championships.
Plus, Sky Sports News reporters Charles Paterson and Paul Gilmour have a detailed lowdown on the challenges Scotland and N.Ireland face this week in their play-offs.
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