Klopp hopes Liverpool youngsters step up amid injury crisis


Soccer Football - Champions League - Group D - Atalanta v Liverpool - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy - November 3, 2020 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp celebrates at the end of the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

(Reuters) - Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp has said he hopes the club's young centre backs can step up in the absence of injured regulars as the Premier League champions cope with an injury crisis.

Defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both set to miss the rest of the campaign after undergoing knee surgeries, with Nat Phillips and teenager Rhys Williams expected to provide cover and partner with Joel Matip.

Klopp said he found himself in a similar situation at Borussia Dortmund, when Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels were played together as teenagers, gaining the experience to form the bedrock of his defensive line in two title-winning seasons.

"We cannot compare situations really. I only want to mention it when I came to Dortmund in 2008, my two centre halves were turning 19 and 20 in Subotic and Hummels that winter," Klopp told reporters ahead of Sunday's game against Leicester City.

"We played with them for the entire time and they were talents. We have talent here, they are young - 18, 19, 23 - and we have more experienced players, so we will see. Everybody has a chance.

"We have midfielders, not in the moment but hopefully in a couple of weeks, who can play the more defensive role as well."

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho played as a makeshift defender before he was sidelined with a hamstring issue. Klopp said Liverpool may dip into the transfer market for reinforcements when the window reopens in January.

"I don't know what we can do in January to be honest. I have no idea," Klopp added.

"That we look for solutions, look at the transfer market, that is clear of course. But at the moment we have the situation we have."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

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