Liverpool will be without a natural right-back cover option for up to six games, with Ki-Jana Hoever called up for the Netherlands U17 World Cup squad.
The teenager has been on the fringes of the action this season, learning his trade with the U23s and U19s for the most part.
He did, however, play a big part in pre-season—where he played on the left, as well as the right of defence—and started against MK Dons in the League Cup third round, scoring his first goal for the Reds in the process.
With Jurgen Klopp opting against signing players in a number of positions this summer in order to give game time opportunities to the talented youngsters at the club, Hoever will hope for more senior action over the coming months.
But with his call-up for the U17 World Cup, he won’t be available to Liverpool for up to six games, including the League Cup fourth-round tie against Arsenal.
While that will simply present an opportunity for another player to stake a claim, it does mean that the Reds will be entirely without a natural, offensive-minded right-back during his absence, even if he is an inexperienced one.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will naturally play every major fixture he is fit for, but the League Cup game and potentially Aston Villa away in early November might have been games Klopp wanted to rest him in.
Joe Gomez and James Milner are the usual alternatives, though neither offer the kind of acceleration, creativity and reliable delivery that the first-choice option does.
Hoever will miss up to six games, with the U17 World Cup running from 26 October to 17 November in Brazil, along with some preparation time ahead of the tournament.
- Genk (a) – Champions League – Oct 23 (Hoever not in squad)
- Tottenham (h) – Premier League – Oct 27
- Arsenal (h) – League Cup – Oct 30
- Aston Villa (a) – Premier League – Nov 2
- Genk (h)- Champions League – Nov 5 (Hoever not in squad)
- Man City (h) – Premier League – Nov 10
Upcoming fixtures after this weekend
After the aforementioned senior duo, Jurgen Klopp has a few other options to turn to from the youth ranks at right-back.
Yasser Larouci or Adam Lewis could play on the opposite side to their usual role on the left, while Neco Williams is the U23 regular and Sepp van den Berg has also featured at full-back previously.