Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been told to use Jordan Henderson at centre-back to plug the gap left by Virgil van Dijk, in a move that could save the club in the January transfer market. The Reds have been tipped to sign a new defender during the upcoming transfer window.
Liverpool will likely be without Van Dijk for the rest of the season after the 29-year-old suffered an ACL injury.
Van Dijk will undergo surgery after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament and could be forced to sit out until the start of next season.
As a result, Liverpool are light at the back and have only two senior centre-backs available to them in the form of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.
When Matip was forced out of action last week after suffering a knock, Fabinho was forced to move into defence from midfield in order to cover.
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The Brazilian is more than capable of playing at the back, and was tasked with leading the line against Ajax by Klopp.
Thiago Alcantara’s arrival means Liverpool have the flexibility of moving Fabinho down the pitch, but his injury history suggests he won’t be used in every game this season.
With the January transfer window fast approaching, speculation suggests the Reds will look to dip into the market and sign a new defender to cover and replace Van Dijk.
RB Leipzig ace Dayot Upamecano is said to be Klopp’s first-choice option, with the Reds boss apparently eager to bring forward the club’s bid from next summer to January.
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But according to former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips, Klopp can solve the problem by giving Henderson a chance at the back.
The club captain, who usually plays in a central defensive midfield role, hasn’t been used at the back by Klopp yet, but Phillips believes his energy and eye for a pass make him the perfect candidate to fill in.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “You would not say Gomez has started the season well but last night will have helped him and he will only get better and better.
“Hopefully Gomez and Fabinho can forge a partnership that can stand the test of time until Virgil van Dijk gets back.
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“I am going to put it out there, I actually think Jordan Henderson could play centre-half.
“I think that he has that knowledge and that knowhow.
“He has the energy, the pace and that range of passing.
“I think he could surprise people and plug the gap left by van Dijk at centre-half.”
Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White has reportedly been eyed up as a potential long-term replacement for Van Dijk, but Liverpool icon Mark Lawrenson believes the Premier League champions need someone ready to play in the Champions League.
“He keeps improving. He was excellent at Leeds and they bid £25 million,” he said of White to The Argus.
“Say the likes of Liverpool are looking at him, it would be a long-term thing and I think you’d want to watch him week in and week out and see him against the very top players. You’re talking Champions League and therein lies the difference.
“There is no doubt he is going to be more than comfortable in the Premier League.
“But it’s like all the other names which have been bandied about. Will any of those players be good enough for the Champions League?”
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