Jurgen Klopp can reveal the full extent of the midfield injury crisis when picking his Liverpool XI vs Porto. The Reds haven’t had too many available recently.
Liverpool went into the game against Arsenal on Saturday with only two guaranteed midfielders. Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were ready to go – everyone else was a doubt.
Some were out completely. Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones, James Milner and Naby Keita were never making the squad, while Jordan Henderson and Fabinho faced fitness tests.
Fabinho wasn’t a major doubt, though, and did start the game. Henderson was able to come off the bench, too.
But Liverpool are still short and face a game against Porto where they don’t actually need to win. Or draw, for that matter.
Liverpool tackle midfield injury crisis vs Porto
The Reds are through as group winners, meaning this game has nothing riding on it for them. Resting players for Saturday makes sense, then, but we don’t expect Klopp to rest the entire XI and play kids.
But Klopp doesn’t have too many options available in midfield regardless. That’s been the case for the last little while, of course, and that’s led to Oxlade-Chamberlain establishing himself as a true option.
He’s taken advantage of the absences in midfield to force his way into regular football. It’s been great to see.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is now, quite bizarrely for someone with his injury record, the most reliably-fit midfielder at Liverpool. In fact, he’s now so key that whether Klopp plays him vs Porto will show the extent of the Reds’ injury crisis.
If Oxlade-Chamberlain starts and Liverpool don’t save him for Southampton, we can be fairly confident that the injury ‘crisis’ is clearing up. The likes of Henderson and Milner will be fine to return and the need for Oxlade-Chamberlain to start lessens.
But should Liverpool leave him out, it’s a suggestion that he’ll start against his old club. Now, that tells us that the Reds are very much still worried about options heading into the busiest period of the season.
It may only be one selection in XI but it will tell us where Liverpool stand right now.