How Liverpool can manage the absence of Virgil van Dijk

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Adam Brown – @AdamMNVi

A Merseyside Derby was all it took to expose Everton. The Blues thought they had cracked the code; Don Carlo had transformed the midfield in the transfer window and found an answer upfront in Calvert-Lewin.

In what could have been a tie of attacking football between two clubs who had assembled their best sides of the Premier League era, instead became a dominant Liverpool performance in which the Blues resorted to barbaric challenges, play-acting and fortuitous refereeing decisions.

“A win against Liverpool is coming,” says Dominic Calvert-Lewin. But the wording only reinforces what a myth it has been for those at Goodison Park.

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The Reds must now manage without their colossus at the back. Virgil van Dijk’s injury is a blow which Klopp has never had to deal with before.

Thiago escaped damage after Richarlison’s challenge – but it’s good to see the Everton players found it amusing. It’s interesting what wins against Spurs and three bottom-half teams can do to the mentality of a club not accustomed to winning.


Klopp must take advantage of European nights out of the spotlight

Trips to Ajax, Atalanta and FC Midtjylland make up a low-key Champions League group for Liverpool. It’s in these games where Klopp can use squad rotation, giving minutes to the likes of Curtis Jones and Neco Williams. Where possible, the Premier League champions must avoid the risk of injuring further senior players.

Rhys Williams could make his European debut after impressing during the EFL Cup. The young defender is a vital asset to the Liverpool squad given the injury records of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

Strengthened midfield depth means Klopp can deploy Fabinho in defence

Fabinho has made a handful of appearances in the heart of the defence and has frequently impressed, most recently against Chelsea where the Brazilian shut out Timo Werner. It would be unsurprising if Klopp looked to the former Monaco man as a first-choice selection while the midfield continues to dominate games with either Thiago or Jordan Henderson operating from the six.

Would you rather keep Wijnaldum or sign Thiago? Both. This decision now looks an astute one with strength-in-depth more important than ever. The World Champions have a plethora of options available in midfield and will be unscathed by shuffling the pack. Naby Keita will return after testing negative for Covid-19, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also making progress.

Alisson Becker is back in training ahead of schedule

Liverpool’s number one was feared to be out until well into November but returned to training this week.

The Brazilian has shown why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world – not just for his saving ability, but also in organising the backline. Defenders appear more settled when Alisson plays, and the absent voice of Virgil van Dijk means Ali must now take charge.

While an injury to a key player could have previously been catastrophic to a Liverpool season, the Reds have moved on from the Gerrard-Torres and Gerrard-Suarez eras. The foundations of the current Reds squad mean Klopp can continue to win games using an array of world-class talent in almost every position on the pitch.

Adam Brown – @AdamMNVi

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