Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will feel a new level of pressure this week. It comes after an injury to Alisson Becker at a very unfortunate time.
Jurgen Klopp announced on Friday that Alisson would miss Liverpool’s next two games.
“He is not available for the next week, not for tomorrow and not the next week,” he said, per Liverpoolfc.com. And that’s not good news – not at all.
It means Alisson won’t be in goal on Saturday when Liverpool face Bournemouth. More importantly, he won’t face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday either in a game that demands a solid defensive performance.
If Liverpool concede one goal against Atletico, they’ll need to score three past a very difficult defence. Each further goal increases the necessary response – in short, a clean-sheet is incredibly desirable.
Playing their strongest defensive unit would have been the best way to get one, of course, but that can’t happen. Alisson is gone and the rest of the unit will need to step up.
Especially after Adrian, who will surely now play, had a poor game against Chelsea last week.
Making things worse, though, is that another element of that defensive unit is in poor form. Fabinho hasn’t performed well since his return from injury, with his spell back in the side coinciding with Liverpool’s poor form.
That leaves two defensive players who Liverpool can trust right now. Van Dijk and Gomez have both been brilliant over recent months but they’ll now have to do it under pressure.
And with Liverpool needing goals, the full-backs will surely play very high up the pitch. They won’t be much help, either.
The pressure is on, then. Van Dijk and Gomez will need to be at their best this week. That starts on Saturday as they try to help Liverpool regain some form.