John Aldridge believes Liverpool’s young players have done a ‘terrific’ job filling in for the injured Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho but has urged Jurgen Klopp to start Jordan Henderson at centre-back against Leicester.
Liverpool’s injury crisis deepened on Wednesday as Joe Gomez went down with a knee problem while training with England and there are fears the 23-year-old could be sidelined for weeks rather than months.
It means Joel Matip is now Liverpool’s only fit and available senior centre-half ahead of a busy run of fixtures over the winter period, both domestically and in the Champions League.
Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips have stepped up impressively recent weeks but ex-Liverpool forward Aldridge feels the club have no option but to dip into the market in the January transfer window, regardless of the severity of Gomez’s injury.
‘We’ve obviously got players that can fill in there and some good young players but, with all due respect to them, you do need experience to go with it,’ Aldridge told Sky Sports.
‘It’s the one position where Liverpool could pay the price.
‘We’re swamped players in midfield and up front but at centre-back it doesn’t look good.
‘I think he has to [spend in January] now. With all due respect to Joel Matip, he’s not got a great record with injuries.
‘We’ve got Fabinho who can go there, he’s got players like Henderson and [Gini] Wijnaldum who have played there but only a few times. They can do a good job.
‘The young lads have done terrific but on a long-term basis are they good enough at this moment? I don’t know.
‘I think he has to and I think he knew that before Gomez’s injury. It’s a long season but the one thing we’ve got going forward is that Liverpool frighten the life out of teams with the attacking power that we have.’
After the international break, Liverpool welcome an in-form Leicester and Jamie Vardy to Anfield for what promises to be an enthralling Premier League clash.
Matip looks certain to start on Merseyside if fit and Aldridge thinks Klopp would be wise to opt for the experience of Henderson alongside him at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.
‘You’ve got Leicester up next they have Jamie Vardy who is absolutely magnificent at the moment,’ he added.
‘Is he going to play the young players, who can he fit in there? Jordan to do a job?
‘Vardy is absolutely flying and that’s a bit scary but, going forward, Liverpool are different class.’
‘Again, I go back to the way Vardy is playing. If I was in his position and you’ve got a young recruit playing centre-half, it’s going to be difficult for the young lads with the way he peels off, plays on the shoulder, drifts out wide where they don’t want to go.
‘He’s a master of it at the moment, he’s the best centre-forward in the country and even above Harry Kane with the way he’s playing.
‘It’s a big dilemma for Jurgen. Personally, I would go with Jordan Henderson but whenever he’s put the young players in they’ve never let him down.’