Liverpool vs West Ham
Liverpool have a defensive headache on Sunday for their Premier League opener against West Ham.
Jurgen Klopp appears to be slightly short of defensive options, particularly at centre half.
That’s after Dejan Lovren has been labelled a doubt for the Hammers match through injury.
As confirmed by the Liverpool Echo this weekend, Lovren has failed to take part in Liverpool training since he returned to Melwood after the World Cup.
Lovren reportedly has a stomach problem which is keeping him on the sidelines.
The Echo note that Lovren is set to “visit a specialist in Holland to assess the problem”, while the defender played with his issue during Croatia’s amazing World Cup campaign.
Dejan Lovren has admitted that he played through the pain barrier at the World Cup after suffering stomach issues and has yet to return to full training. Lovren has admitted the club is not happy.
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) August 11, 2018
Klopp says Lovren not available for West Ham game.
— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) August 10, 2018
Who is Nathaniel Phillips?
Lovren is Klopp’s preferred partner alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.
But with Lovren set to miss the West Ham game, who will Klopp pick at the back?
Ragnar Klavan is also out of the match through injury. While Joel Matip is a major doubt for the Irons game.
That leaves Klopp with two options.
Firstly he could turn to Joe Gomez. The English youngster is expected to start the game, even though he’s carrying a minor niggle.
Alternatively, Klopp could selected Nathaniel Phillips to make his Premier League debut on Sunday.
Phillips is a 21-year-old centre-half who has impressed for Liverpool during pre-season.
Klopp recently spoke about Phillips after Liverpool beat Torino in pre-season. He said, “Nat has played an outstanding pre-season.”
Tweets on Nathaniel Phillips are below.
Nathaniel Phillips has learned alot from VVD this summer 👊 pic.twitter.com/gul6KjNPRR
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) August 7, 2018
Klopp hints that Nathaniel Phillips could be involved: “I really liked his pre-season, it was really strong and proved a lot and that was cool.” Lovren is training again, but is lacking match-fitness. Klavan and Matip “are not fit and cannot play for the weekend.” #LFC
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) August 8, 2018
What is this @bwfc ??
Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips could find himself on the bench for the Reds’ opening Premier League game of the season against West Ham, just two years after being released by Bolton.
— MansWik (@BWFCMansWi) August 6, 2018