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Adam Lallana injury and how Liverpool will cover for his absence in Merseyside derby

March 28, 2017 6:38 PM
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Adam Lallana injury and how Liverpool will cover for his absence in Merseyside derby

Jurgen Klopp has several options for Saturday but bravery could be rewarded

Lallana was missing from training at Melwood today with a suspected thigh problem while Henderson is only an outside bet to make the starting line-up as he continues his recuperation from a foot injury.

That leaves Klopp facing the prospect of shuffling his midfield pack to come up with an option that makes his team as competitive as possible.

If Henderson is unavailable, Klopp will want to keep Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can close together to anchor his midfield and to repel Tom Davies and Ross Barkley who could provide the attacking momentum for the visitors.

Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane are likely to continue as the attacking three with the 4-3-3 formation proving successful against the league’s top sides this season.

So Klopp will be looking for a player to come in alongside Wijnaldum and Can.

Below are some of the options he could consider between now and the match.

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His most recent starts have come in defence and his performance against Leicester City is best forgotten. A careless pass across the box gifting Jamie Vardy a goal at Anfield while Vardy’s pace at the King Power was all too much for the Brazilian.

But he remains a fierce competitor with the experience of 16 derbies behind him.

Conceding goals has been the Reds’ biggest problem this season and they would lose some of their attacking potency in replacing Lallana with Lucas.

Wijnaldum’s ability to get from box to box though should ensure the team doesn’t become too unbalanced.

Lucas will be desperate to start in what could be his last ever Merseyside derby with an Anfield exit possible in the summer.

Another player who could bring composure to the base of Liverpool’s midfield is Kevin Stewart.

The 23-year-old is adept at breaking up play while also being comfortable on the ball.

He can move the ball quickly to his teammates, which would be vital in the hot house atmosphere of a derby, when no time on the ball is afforded and tackles come hard and fast.

Klopp has described the player as very important and with Lucas’ influence now limited, Stewart could be the one of the best defensive midfield options Klopp has.

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There are few bigger tests than the derby and Stewart is yet to play a single minute against Liverpool’s rivals, so it would be a gamble.

If Stewart is to build a career at Liverpool, Klopp may have to start trusting him with Premier League starts in situations such as these.

James Milner has only missed two games for Liverpool this season and has shown his value to the squad by shifting to left-back, where he has looked at home.

The tireless worker is known to prefer playing in more creative positions, but has been willing to fill in wherever he is required.

Could Klopp grant him his wish and move him further forward on Saturday?

Everton must be considering a defensive set-up as Liverpool have struggled when forced to try and break teams down this season, so Milner could be needed in attacking positions wherever he plays.

Bringing him into the midfield would mean a possible return to left-back for Alberto Moreno, which won’t fill all supporters with glee. The Spaniard has only started two games all season and has been much criticised for his defensive abilities.

If Dejan Lovren returns to shore up the back four, Klopp might have the confidence to give Moreno another chance.

Alternatively Nathaniel Clyne could operate on the left with Trent Alexander-Arnold at right full-back.

The young talent is highly rated by Klopp, who has previously used him in defence.

But the player started his career in central midfield and his technique and crossing ability suggest he could do a job in an advanced attacking position.

Just last week he was impressing for England U19s with two goals against Spain.

Earlier this season, John Aldridge tipped him as a replacement for Sadio Mane while the attacker was on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Aldridge told the ECHO: “The lad is quick, has played in midfield at youth level and we need someone there with pace to stretch teams like Mane does. We aren’t gifted with natural pace in the side and that’s what is costing us.”

The Liverpool-born lad wouldn’t need anyone to tell him the about the importance of the derby and he grew up dreaming of playing like Steven Gerrard.

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