Every Liverpool center-back combination used during the 2020/21 Premier League season
Liverpool’s loss to Southampton on Monday night saw them start with their tenth different combination of center-backs in 17 Premier League games.
Injuries have ravaged Jurgen Klopp’s options at the back with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez left out in the long run, and the Reds boss has had to get creative … to mixed results.
Here we have looked at every pair that the Reds have started a game with this term, Premier League and the like.
First use: 12/09/20 – Liverpool 4-3 Leeds
The normal first-choice partnership, the two saw their seasons cut short by injury, but paired up for the first five league games of the season.
Their last league game together? Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool.
Maybe they could take a break …
First use: 20/09/20 – Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool
Just over a week later, Fabinho showed his versatility as he entered the back row alongside Van Dijk.
The Reds were left untouched and passed Frank Lampard’s side by a few goals at Stamford Bridge.
First use: 10/17/20 – Everton 2-2 Liverpool
Something had to give way after that hammering at Villa, and what gave was Gomez’s place in the squad.
Joel Matip came in, but Gomez was quickly called into action alongside the Cameroonian after Jordan Pickford’s knee-high challenge called him off.
First use: 10/24/20 – Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United
Losing a presence like Van Dijk’s isn’t as much of a crisis as it could be when you have a midfielder like Fabinho who is able to step back and fill his boots.
He was asked to play out of position against Sheffield United again, when Diogo Jota’s header sealed a comeback victory, and has been a fixture there ever since.
First use: 10/31/20 – Liverpool 2-1 West Ham
A minor hamstring issue briefly put Fabinho out of competition for the West Ham visit, so Nat Phillips came in from the cold.
The 23-year-old looked set to leave this summer after spending last season on loan with Stuttgart, but Klopp might have been delighted with a devastated return to Germany. He dominated in the air and established himself as a true first-team option in an otherwise forgettable narrow victory.
First use: 08/11/20 – Man City 1-1 Liverpool
Gomez and Matip are two of the more senior options and seemed to be the duo in Van Dijk’s absence.
Unfortunately, because this season is what it is, Gomez quickly joined him on the injury list.
First use: 11/22/20 – Liverpool 3-0 Leicester
With Gomez, Fabinho and Van Dijk out, things looked like they were about to get really hairy for Leicester’s visit. Fortunately, the Brazilian was set to come back and did so successfully.
Joined by Matip at the back, the two were aggressive and commanding as Liverpool welcomed Brendan Rodgers to Anfield with a comfortable victory.
First use: 11/28/20 – Brighton 1-1 Liverpool
Phillips has been in and out of the squad since his introduction and has yet to fully convince Klopp of his credentials as a starter. However, he did trust a few times and mustered the back line alongside Fabinho for the trip to Brighton.
It was another decent performance from the young defender who could have a future as a team player at Anfield.
First use: 12/16/20 – Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham
Williams’ Premier League debut has gone wonderfully as Roberto Firmino’s late header reaffirmed Liverpool credentials as title favorites.
The youngster has watched at home in the Premier League and is lined up for a great future at Anfield.
First use: 04/01/21 – Southampton 1-0 Liverpool
For the trip to Southampton, Klopp opted against either of his young guns in the center-back, as captain Jordan Henderson fell in the back line to provide some experience against Danny Ings.
It did not work.
Ings scored in two minutes and Southampton won 1-0, inflicting a first league loss in 12 appearances on the defending champions.