Early injury news as Jurgen Klopp faces midfield problem for Liverpool vs. West Ham

9 August 2018

Jurgen Klopp could face a difficult decision as he prepares for Liverpool’s Premier League opener at home to West Ham, as injuries impact his squad.


The Reds take on a new-look Hammers side at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, as they kick off their third full season of Klopp’s reign.

After a productive pre-season that saw them win seven, draw one and lose one of nine friendlies across England, the United States and Ireland, confidence is high on Merseyside.

But Klopp’s side could already be restricted by key absences, while others may be short of fitness after their late return from the World Cup.

According to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, summer signing Fabinho is a doubt for the weekend, having left training on Thursday with a minor muscle injury.

The Brazilian started in the Reds’ final warmup game against Torino on Tuesday night, playing the first half in midfield before switching to centre-back for 25 minutes after the break.

He had been expected to line up alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita on Sunday, and while Pearce adds that “Liverpool haven’t ruled him out” this could change Klopp’s plans.

Jordan Henderson is an option, but only played 20 minutes on his return to the side in midweek, while Wijnaldum could take over in the No. 6 role with James Milner, Adam Lallana, Curtis Jones and Marko Grujic also available.

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking after the 3-1 win over Torino at Anfield, Klopp insisted Joe Gomez should be fit to start against West Ham, despite sitting out of the pre-season closer.

If the 21-year-old is deemed short of fitness, however, Nathaniel Phillips could be drafted in for his first-team debut alongside Virgil van Dijk.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Pearce attested that “Klopp doesn’t believe he would let anyone down,” suggesting Phillips could be a viable senior option in the upcoming campaign.

Both Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan are also doubts, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster are sidelined for the long term.

Alisson is in line to make his first competitive outing for his new side on Sunday, as with Keita, while Xherdan Shaqiri will likely start on the substitutes’ bench.

The Swiss was utilised in an advanced midfield role at times during pre-season, however, and could well be drafted in alongside Wijnaldum and Keita if Klopp is convinced they can provide balance.

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