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Jürgen Klopp faces major Liverpool decision for Everton following Virgil van Dijk injury update



Jurgen Klopp could be forced to return to his own rule to save Liverpool's season
Jürgen Klopp faces major Liverpool decision for Everton following Virgil van Dijk injury updat

Jurgen Klopp

Opinion shared: Liverpool have decision to make in Jürgen Klopp’s central defense for Everton. Two of our writers have their own thoughts on what it should do.

Liverpool face Everton at a time when neither club is in the position they would like in the Premier League and neither manager has a full squad to choose from.

Virgil van Dijk, Jürgen Klopp confirmed at the press conference, is partially back in training with the Reds but unlikely to be ready to play on Monday, while Diogo Jota is back but Thiago Alcântara is a doubt. For Liverpool, it appears that if one player returns, another will have to lose as the injury bad luck continues. That leaves Klopp with some dilemmas to resolve. There are questions in midfield, but also at the back where Joel Matip and Joe Gomez put on something of a horror show against Wolves last weekend.

However, should Klopp stay with the pair as Van Dijk is likely to be out or rotate and bring in Nat Phillips? Such is the team’s and Fabinho’s desperation to improve that the Brazilian has even been suggested as an option to roll back as a workaround to potentially return him to something like his old self.

Jürgen Klopp faces major Liverpool decision for Everton following Virgil van Dijk injury updat

What should Liverpool do? Two of our writers have had their say and you can add your thoughts in the comments section below the article.

Stick with the underperforming duo” – Matt Addison

If Nat Phillips started on Monday, it wouldn’t be a huge shock. This is the situation in which Liverpool find themselves.

I see the argument: he is strong in the air and Everton will focus on set pieces. But his lack of speed is an easy target, and someone like Demarai Gray could take advantage of that. Moreover, Liverpool have big games ahead of them. If Phillips played against Newcastle United or even Real Madrid, that would be a problem.

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By then, Virgil van Dijk should be back but Ibrahima Konaté could take longer to return. This means either Matip or Gomez will be alongside the Dutchman, so getting either of them back into shape – and getting out of their system as quickly as possible last weekend – is absolutely essential.

Phillips at the club if not seen as a realistic option. Had it been as simple as needing centre-backs, Rhys Williams would have done just as well and Klopp could have approved a January departure.

But a move for Phillips has repeatedly been blocked, with the majority of $12m (£10m/€11m) rejected in the process, presumably because Klopp knows he has a defender on his hands who is so much better than a typical fourth choice. If so, there must be circumstances beyond mere emergencies in which he is at stake.

If we haven’t met those conditions, it’s hard to know when they will ever happen. Van Dijk and Konaté are both out, while their replacement is underperforming. Meanwhile, Phillips is one of the few to have barely made a mistake when called up this season, with a strong performance against Erling Haaland being the highlight of an admittedly small sample.

Add to that the fact that Phillips’ rather old-fashioned skill set looks well-suited to what’s likely to be an ugly, rambling affair in a derby and the case looks very solid indeed. His size and air power, especially in the absence of Van Dijk, could be enormous.