Liverpool can take three paths to reshuffle defensive depth, but most obvious will be ignored

Liverpool can take three paths to reshuffle defensive depth, but most obvious will be ignored

The recent news that Joel Matip will be ruled out for the remainder of the season might not seem seismic in the grand scheme of things. Liverpool have the world’s best central defender in Virgil van Dijk at their disposal, as well as Joe Gomez, who has proven to be an able deputy for the Dutchman this season. Their defensive contributions have led to the Reds conceding just 21 league goals in 31 matches this season even with Alisson Becker struggling with injury at times. However, it would be very shortsighted to take Matip’s injury at face value. The 28-year-old might not have played a huge part this season but he has been a reliable defensive option for Jurgen Klopp in recent years, with more than 20 league appearances in each of his previous three campaigns for the Reds. Both he and Gomez have rotated almost in synchronisation with one another to be ruled out through injury whilst the other partners Van Dijk at the back. This season has seen the latter develop into a highly promising centre back and one that has begun to look at home in the Premier League’s most formidable defence. Playing in central defence for this Liverpool side, though, requires very different qualities compared to playing for many other teams. A high level of ball involvement is often required as Klopp’s men look to dominate. Gomez ranking as the second highest player in the league amongst players with over 1000 minutes played for passes completed per ...
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