Klopp makes the same mistake as Pep, can Liverpool cope?
Liverpool's hopes of retaining their Premier League title have endured a massive dent as their pivotal defender Virgil van Dijk has suffered a season-ending knee injury.
In a controversial incident that saw Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford putting in a horror tackle on the Dutchman, the England number one went unpunished as the situation occurred in an offside position.
Refereeing in the Premier League has come under question mark following the incident but Liverpool's miseries do not end there. It was later revealed that van Dijk suffered the highest severity ligament tear, a complete grade 3 rupture of Van Dijk’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a major knee stabilizing ligament.
Replacing someone of van Dijk's quality is not possible as the Dutch skipper is arguably the finest defender on the planet right now but Jurgen Klopp's decision to stick to just three senior center-backs has come under scrutiny especially considering the injury history of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.
Overall, the situation is a lot similar to that of Manchester City last season as Pep Guardiola chose not to replace departing club captain Vincent Kompany and just when the season started, their key defender Aymeric Laporte suffered an ACL injury.
Klopp has made the same mistake that Guardiola did last season and Liverpool's hopes of holding onto their title has now come under serious threat.
Liverpool before and after Virgil van Dijk's arrival are polar opposites of each other. The Dutchman brought in a sense of solidity and leadership with him to Anfield and it is needless to say that the success Liverpool have tasted has been laid on the very same foundation.
Without the 29-year-old, things will not be the same even if Matip and Gomez manage to stay fit. Fabinho is capable of dropping down at the heart of the defence but that comes at the cost of Liverpool's best defensive midfielder.
Overall, it is a situation that does not look promising for the Reds and their lack of options at the back could come back to haunt them.
Liverpool's priority for the January transfer window now should be a top-class central defender but they must remain defensively solid in the first half of the season in order to stand a chance of making it up in the second half.
Achieving success is a difficult thing but holding on to that is even more difficult and without their best defender, the Reds have exactly such a monumental task in their hands. Now all Liverpool can hope that both Gomez and Matip stay fit at least till January before Jurgen Klopp can bring in someone who can provide cover.
The Reds do have some quality young center-backs in their books in the likes of Sepp van den Berg, Billy Koumetio, and of course Rhys Williams who had an impressive game against Arsenal in the League Cup earlier this season.
It could be a golden opportunity for the young trio to prove their worth and especially Williams looks more than ready for the step up.
Featured image credits - ESPN