Liverpool fans are fearing the worst after the latest injury update on Dejan Lovren, but Jurgen Klopp can save the day by repeating an old trick against Bayern Munich.
Liverpool look likely to take on one of the biggest clubs in world football next week with just one centre back available for selection, as Lovren did not travel to the club’s warm-weather training camp in Spain.
Virgil van Dijk is suspended for the match, while Joe Gomez is still out with a fractured leg.
Lovren was hopeful to return in time for the European showdown, but Klopp says “it will be a tight race” to get the Croatian international ready, per the club’s official website.
Klopp has dealt with a crisis like this once before at Liverpool, and he should repeat the exact same solution against Munich.
Liverpool faced Brighton at the Amex Stadium in December 2017 in an almost identical situation, except that time it was Lovren who was fit for selection, rather than Joel Matip.
The World Cup finalist started in the middle of a back three alongside Georginio Wijnadum and Emre Can, and the Reds won 5-1 as Wijnaldum in particular excelled in his new role.
Of course, Brighton are not Bayern Munich and Glenn Murray is not Robert Lewandowski, but the idea is basically the same – surround an in-form striker with three centre backs, allowing the wing-backs to bomb forward and create chances.
Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s engines and crossing abilities make them both a perfect fit for this system, and it would also decrease the pressure on Matip having two central figures alongside him instead of just one.
Of course, Emre Can is no longer at the club, so one would have to assume the versatile Fabinho would take his spot on the right of the back three, with Wijnaldum on the left, just as he was that day at Brighton.
It may not be ideal, but if Klopp wants to go to the second leg in Germany with his side still in the tie, this may be the only way to stop Lewandowski running riot.