Liverpool face West Ham United this weekend with the Reds hoping to maintain their winning form. The Reds have won each of their last three, beating Ajax, Sheffield United and FC Midtjylland. This weekend sees Jürgen Klopp take on an in form Hammers side with just one senior centre back definitely fit. If Joel Matip isn’t available for Saturday then Liverpool have four realistic centre back options against West Ham, here they are, ranked:
Sepp van den Berg – 4th
The Dutch defender has been impressing for the U23s since his switch from PEC Zwolle last summer.
He has made sporadic cup appearances for the first team but has yet to threaten to break in on a regular basis.
He unlikely to be called up for first team action in the near future given the prominence of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.
Jordan Henderson – 3rd
The captain has filled in in defence before.
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The Reds were left short handed at the back during the Club World Cup and as a result we saw Jordan Henderson drop into the backline.
He impressed in the role out in Qatar but his reprisal of the role is best avoided given the physicality of the West Ham attacking lineup.
Nat Phillips – 2nd
23-year-old defender Nat Phillips impressed against Everton in the FA Cup last season.
He has since remained at the club despite being tipped for a summer exit.
The youngster has been on the bench regularly this season and we could well see him called upon given the dearth of cover at the back.
Rhys Williams – 1st
The 19-year-old has impressed throughout the season. He was afforded a surprise opportunity against Lincoln City in the EFL Cup and more than earned his next shot against Arsenal.
These two strong performances led to Williams being included in the Champions League squads for the first two matchdays.
He came on for the final minutes against Ajax and for an hour against Midtjylland.
The youngster has also been in fine form for the U23s. Whilst he may not have a wealth of elite first team experience, he has shown plenty of promise with his handful of performances. This weekend could be his biggest test yet.