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Friday, May 24, 2024


The Reds saw another defender join the casualty list this week when Joe Gomez was sent home from the England squad

Liverpool were plunged even further into defensive crisis this week when Joe Gomez was confirmed the latest player to have suffered an injury.

The centre-back withdrew from the England squad ahead of their matches against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland due to a knee problem he sustained in training.

Although the severity of the 23-year-old’s injury is yet to be determined, the news poses serious problems for Jurgen Klopp, who has seen his back line decimated in recent weeks.

Gomez is the fourth member of the Liverpool defence to be ruled out in the last month. The Premier League champions’ struggles began when Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for several months with knee ligament damage after a crunching challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in October.

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Brazil international Fabinho was called on to fill in at the back alongside Gomez in the following game against Midtjylland in the Champions League, but he went off injured in the first half with a hamstring problem.

While Klopp received a boost when Joel Matip returned to fitness and was able to play a role, they suffered another catastrophe on Sunday when Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced off against Manchester City. It was later revealed that the right-back suffered a calf injury and could be out of action until mid-December.

With the problems piling up for the Anfield outfit, the options are thin for Klopp, who may have to call on inexperienced defenders Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio to help fill the void.

Ideally, Liverpool would be able to bring in an emergency signing or loan while the transfer window is closed, but due to Premier League rules, English teams do not have the luxury that some of their foreign counterparts have.

Whereas Barcelona were able to deal with their lack of attacking options last year by bringing in Martin Braithwaite from fellow La Liga side Leganes outside of the transfer window, there is no clause allowing Premier League teams to buy any players from other English sides while the window is closed.

Meanwhile, the emergency loan system which may have given them a chance to bring in temporary replacements is no longer in use, as it was scrapped by FIFA four years ago.

Liverpool’s only option would be to sign a free agent, but there are not a lot of quality options floating around at this stage.

Ex-Real Madrid centre-back Ezequiel Garay, 34, is one candidate available having left Valencia in February this year after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

Jozo Simunovic, 26, is another defender without a club after he left Celtic when his contract expired at the end of last season.

Klopp could bring Kevin Stewart back to the club, given the 27-year-old made 20 first team appearances for Liverpool before he left for Hull.

Other options with Premier League experience are former Swansea star Ashley Williams, now 36 years old, and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who made 46 first team appearances for Newcastle and was released by Lyon in the summer.


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