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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.

Joe Gomez.Virgil Van Dijk
The boys are no longer in town * sad guitar riff * | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images

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 …

Virgil Van Dijk, Fabio Henrique Tavares
Van Dijk and Fabinho blunt Chelsea | Visionhaus / Getty Images

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.

Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Pickford
Liverpool’s season turned at Goodison Park | Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

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.

Erik Sviatchenko, Joe Gomez, Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho
Fabinho and Gomez have also teamed up in the Champions League | Michael Regan / Getty Images

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.

Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League
Klopp congratulated Phillips after a superb presentation | Pool / Getty Images

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.

Matip was injury free at this point | CLIVE BRUNSKILL / Getty Images

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.

Matip was the senior defender alongside Fabinho | Pool / Getty Images

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.

Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane, Fabinho, Roberto Firminho
Fabinho suddenly became Liverpool’s main center-back | Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

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.

Rhys Williams, Fabinho, Alisson Becker
Rhys Williams looked superb against Tottenham, just a year after playing non-league football | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

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.

Henderson fell against Southampton | NAOMI BAKER / Getty Images

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.