Liverpool showed off a new centre-back rotation this week. It could be exactly what they need in the chase for major trophies.
Liverpool crushed Manchester United on Sunday and one of the most notable things about that game was the lineup. Jurgen Klopp sprung some surprises with his XI, particularly in defence.
Ibrahima Konate started at the back alongside Virgil van Dijk. The Frenchman is a big talent but this was by far his biggest game for Liverpool.
In fact, it was his first appearance for over a month. Klopp took a big risk throwing him in against Cristiano Ronaldo and co. but it certainly paid off.
Liverpool then faced Preston North End in the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening. We saw a complete rotation at centre-back for that one as Joe Gomez and Joel Matip started the game.
With that, Klopp showed off a potential new centre-back rotation. It’s one that could prove game-changing over the coming months.
Van Dijk is undoubtedly the top centre-back at Liverpool. While he’s arguably not been at his absolute best this season, that elite form is on its way.
And if you were picking anyone to partner Konate, you’d go with the Dutchman. Together they form a commanding partnership and one that blends youth with vast experience.
With Gomez and Matip you get more experience overall and slightly less of a commanding presence. While both are physically strong, they’re not as dominant as the other two.
But that extra experience can more than carry them through to a fantastic level. You’d trust the pairing in nearly any game, even if Van Dijk is the standout defender at the club.
With these two pairings, Liverpool have a wonderful balance. Both duos are incredibly strong and offer long-term benefits.
Konate, for instance, will only improve quickly alongside Van Dijk. While the other duo sees Gomez lineup on the left side of the defence – a role he will take over from Van Dijk in the future to partner Konate.
So we wonder if Liverpool will stick with these pairings over the coming months when possible. One for the cups, one for the league, essentially.
The Reds can keep all four fit and firing, removing injury worries. They also guarantee themselves two elite partnerships as they chase the biggest trophies, all while developing their younger players.
It’s something we might see over the next week. Van Dijk and Konate vs Brighton and then Gomez and Matip vs Atletico. Fresh, fully-fit players for each big game. Perfect.