It’s not looking great for Jürgen Klopp’s midfield options right now. The Merseyside derby is on Saturday followed by Liverpool’s second leg against Manchester City on Tuesday. The manager is going to have to get creative in his team selections considering Emre Can and Adam Lallana are injured and Jordan Henderson will serve a one-match suspension in Champions League.
Can was expected to have returned to training by now but the back injury that has kept him out of both Liverpool and Germany matches continues to cause the player a problem.
Henderson will play against Everton, for sure, but partnering the Liverpool captain could get tricky. Klopp will have James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain available from the regular first-team but those players are also Liverpool’s best options to take to City next week. Is it worth the risk of more injuries at Goodison Park? Today, Klopp was asked how difficult filling out his team sheets will be this week.
“Not too much because of rotation or whatever,” said Klopp. “We have already a difficult situation, everybody knows that.
“Of course, we have to consider pretty much everything but in the end we need to have a line up to give us the best opportunity to win the game and that’s what we’ll try.”
The manager was adamant that he will use the players that can win the game at Everton, including Mohamed Salah if the Egyptian proves fit in the next twenty-four hours. But it’s likely that Klopp adds some Academy sparkle to his line-up this weekend in order to fill in some gaps. Ben Woodburn could be offered a chance against Everton. So too could less recognisable names like Herbie Kane and Rafa Camacho.
“For young players, it’s not about getting the opportunity it’s about being ready for the opportunity,” Klopp said.
“They are there, they are really talented boys. I am always ready for using them but in the right games, in the right moment. So, we will see when that will happen.”
It would be a gamble from Klopp to insert too many fresh faces against Everton but the reality is that the Champions League reverse fixture on Tuesday is by far the priority for Liverpool. With the top four looking ever likely to include the Reds at the end of the season, Klopp knows he needs to put his most durable eggs into the Etihad basket.