Liverpool will have to make a few big decisions in the coming weeks depending on the extent of the Virgil van Dijk injury. The Reds will have to assess who can fill in in the first team defence – Fabinho was thought to be the fourth choice centre back but given the Van Dijk injury and the frailty of our other two centre backs we may need to stick a youth player on the bench or even on the pitch at some point. Here are three players who could step up:
Billy the Kid. The gangly french defender impressed throughout pre-season, making regular appearances in friendly fixtures.
Despite a few shaky moments he did enough to excite fans and coaches alike – Pep Lijnders has referred to him as a ‘proper talent’.
At just 17-years-old he may be a bit too young and inexperienced to make the step up but he may be forced to by the Van Dijk injury.
Out of all of our young centre backs he is perhaps the most promising in the long term, first team minutes this season could accelerate his development.
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Sepp van den Berg
The lanky Dutchman joined the Reds from PEC Zwolle last summer and has been in fine form for the U23s since.
He made some first team appearances in the cup last term and was tipped for a loan exit during this season.
Given the Van Dijk injury the Reds may be made up that he didn’t make the switch. He has the most first team experience of our three candidates, having broken the record for the youngest player to make 10 Eredivisie appearances.
Williams spent last season on loan at Kidderminster Harriers and some, including myself, had written him off given his age and the other defensive options in the academy.
He has been in strong form this season, performing well in games against Lincoln City and Arsenal.
The fact that he didn’t look out of place against Premier League opposition could see him get the nod ahead of the other two candidates.
Whether or not he will be as impressive in the first team without Van Dijk at his side is another matter entirely.