The opening match of the 2018/19 season is just days away. Liverpool will host West Ham at Anfield on Sunday and the expectations from the home crowd and around the world will be high for a convincing win that sets the tone for the months ahead. Jürgen Klopp has brought in some exceptional talent this summer to strengthen the team.
Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, and Xherdan Shaqiri have all arrived in Liverpool to be a part of the Red Renaissance and to help take Liverpool to the next level. Their opportunity to become legends begins this weekend. It’s crucial that the team gets off to a winning start against the Hammers in order to keep the confidence riding high.
Unfortunately, injuries are already playing their part in sabotaging Klopp’s plans for a strong IX on opening day. And the late arrivals from post-World Cup holidays are also contributing to a incomplete squad.
Dejan has only been back since the beginning of this week and isn’t near ready for serious competition yet. Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been back at Melwood for a little bit longer and may be in contention for minutes on Sunday, but it’s safe to say that the squad is a bit uneven at the moment and the manager will have some selection issues picking his first team sheet of the season.
“Fabinho is clear,” said Klopp. “He had a scan but the check was clear. Then he felt ill so we sent him home and I haven’t seen him again. We will see.
“We will see about the England boys and Dejan. They are all in different shape. Trent has had longer, which is good. Hendo is full of power but hasn’t been back long. It’s Hendo though, you always think about him.
“Dejan is unavailable for the weekend.”
“Ragnar has no real chance. Joel did train in small parts like Joe [Gomez] did so we will see how they are today.”
Dejan is still in massive amounts of running mode. Ragnar Klavan isn’t fit. Joël Matip and Joe Gomez aren’t 100%. There’s a strong possibility that Nat Phillips finds himself on the bench at Anfield and a surprising chance that the young centre back is called on to partner Virgil Van Dijk in central defense against West Ham, such is the current state of Klopp’s options at the back.
The squad was looking packed with players not so long ago. And, certainly, the transfer moves over the summer have added depth and versatility to the team. But an injury here and an injury there has given Klopp a defensive headache he will need to address in time for Sunday. Sunday!!