Liverpool travel to Molineux for the early Premier League kick off this Saturday, following a return from the international break.
Though Liverpool and Wolves’ early season form could hardly be more different – the Reds have won three from four, while Gary O’Neill’s side have picked up a solitary victory – the match will be a big test for Jurgen Klopp and his team.
The Reds were destroyed 3-0 in this fixture back in February, in what was perhaps the nadir of a dismal 2022/23 season.
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The game on Saturday, 16 September represents an opportunity to prove the difference between this new team that Klopp has dubbed ‘Liverpool Reloaded’ and the one that had begun to go stale last season.
But, in order to do so, the Reds may well be without the majority of their first-choice defence amid a mini-crisis at the back.
Who’s missing for Liverpool?
Captain Virgil van Dijk is a confirmed absentee after his suspension was extended by a further game, following his FA charge for improper conduct.
Meanwhile, Ibrahima Konate is a doubt to be involved as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury that prevented him from playing for France during the international break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, too, withdrew from international duty with his own hamstring strain suffered in the win over Aston Villa.
How could Liverpool line up?
Should both Alexander-Arnold and Konate be ruled out of the weekend’s action, Joe Gomez is likely to start at right back – especially as full-back understudy Conor Bradley is also out with an injury.
That would, in turn, mean that 20-year-old Jarell Quansah could be in line to start his first-ever Premier League game – having made cameos from the bench in the wins over Newcastle and Aston Villa – alongside Joel Matip, in front of Alisson.
Andy Robertson will start at left back barring any issues, while Wataru Endo and Stefan Bajcetic both have the versatility to fill in at the back, if required – with the latter debuting for the Spain Under-21 side this week as a centre back in their 6-0 win over Malta on Saturday.
However, the current situation highlights how Liverpool have precious little depth in defence when faced with injuries.
Despite talk of interest in a left-sided centre back, the Reds ultimately didn’t recruit any new defenders this summer, but allowed Nat Phillips to leave on loan.
The lack of new arrivals, coupled with Konate’s susceptibility to injury, risks the possibility of Klopp being left dangerously short on options at some point this campaign, with the defensive crisis of 2020/21 still fresh in the minds of many.
Liverpool fans will be eagerly awaiting updates on Konate and Alexander-Arnold this week, though both are likely to return for the following Premier League game at home against West Ham (24 September) if not before, meaning the Reds’ injury worries (this time at least) should be short-lived.