Dietmar Hamann says Liverpool could call on James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum or Jordan Henderson to fill in at centre-back should their defensive injury crisis worsen even further.
Reds talisman Virgil van Dijk faces the prospect of missing the majority of the season with the serious knee ligament he picked up in the Merseyside derby.
Van Dijk’s replacement at centre-back, Fabinho, was also forced off the pitch in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Midtjylland with a hamstring issue.
Joel Matip continues to struggle with a leg problem that has seen him miss the last three games, meaning the only senior centre-back Jurgen Klopp has available is Joe Gomez.
Liverpool host West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday and Klopp could again call on academy product Rhys Williams – who came on for the injured Fabinho against Midtjylland.
Reds hero Hamann admitted that should Matip continue to be unavailable and Joe Gomez also picks up a problem, Klopp could pick midfielders Wijnaldum, Henderson or Milner at centre-back for a few games.
Asked what impact Fabinho’s absence will have, Hamann told talkSPORT: ‘Short-term it is a problem because even when Fabinho played at the back which he did fantastically well, he’s obviously missing in midfield.
‘Sometimes when somebody gets injured, young players get a chance. Williams yesterday did well and he might be the one they have to turn to.
‘On the other hand, if there was really a shortage or something happened to Gomez or Matip again, in Milner, Wijnaldum and Henderson they’ve got very versatile players, they could play at the back for one or two games, but obviously, for the longer period, it’s not ideal.’