Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up an injury against Manchester City at the weekend and he could be ruled out for four weeks.
The England international has been one of Liverpool’s most influential players over the past two seasons and his absence will come as a major blow to the team.
Although he is a right-back, Alexander-Arnold is far more influential and more than just a defender in Liverpool’s system.
He has been a playmaker for them creating numerous chances for the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Alexander-Arnold is a superb crosser and his long-range passing has been the key to Liverpool’s counter-attacking play over the last two seasons.
It will be interesting to see how Liverpool cope without him in their next few games now.
Neco Williams is a natural replacement for the injured Liverpool star but the Welshman is very young and inexperienced. Also, he has been suspect defensively every time he has played for the first team.
Liverpool cannot hope to sustain their title challenge with inexperienced academy players starting important games and Jurgen Klopp may have to use some of his midfielders to replace the England international.
Fabinho has played as a right-back during his time at Monaco and he would be the ideal alternative if he can recover in time. The Brazilian is currently out injured.
He was used as a centre back after Van Dijk’s injury and he was outstanding in that role. There is no doubt that he is a fantastic reader of the game and his tackling ability means that he can be a good full-back option for Klopp as well.
Furthermore, he has a fierce shot on him and that could be an asset going forward.
Alternatively, Jordan Henderson and James Milner can play that role for a limited time as well. Both players have the experience and defensive qualities to slot in as the right back. They are excellent crossers and their long passing is impressive as well.
That said, Milner seems to have lost some of his stamina and bombing up and down the right flank throughout the ninety minutes might be difficult for him.
It will be interesting to see whether Klopp decides to trust in Williams’ ability and give him the opportunity to prove himself at this level. A safer and smarter move would be to use some of his experienced midfielders there until Alexander-Arnold recovers.
Liverpool have had several injury issues so far but they have managed to cope and it remains to be seen how Klopp works his way through the latest blow in the coming weeks.
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