Jurgen Klopp has admitted that his centre-back partnership of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will be “tested” – but the Liverpool supremo says that he knows they will be able co-exist successfully without “a shadow of a doubt”.
Having dropped back Fabinho to partner England regular Gomez for their Champions League victory over Ajax in midweek, Klopp is mulling over just how to solve the long-term problem of replacing arguably the world’s best defender for their first top-flight title defence in three decades.
Ex-Cameroon international Matip looks to be among the obvious candidates following Dejan Lovren’s exit during the transfer window, but the 29-year-old has never started a match alongside Gomez, who has effectively been his like-for-like regularreplacement during the past two seasons, with the pair’s periods of peak fitness rarely coinciding to boot.
Ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Sheffield United, Klopp revealed that he had previously been unaware the duo had never lined up shoulder-to-shoulder before, and acknowledged that both of them, plus Fabinho, will face a baptism of fire as they look to step into the gap left by Van Dijk.
“The reason for why they never played togetheris because I think Virg played pretty much all the games and one of them was injured,” he stated.”As long as Dejan Lovren was still here and Dejan was in that moment fit he could play.
“I didn’t know they had never played together, I didn’t know that, but they can play together – not a shadow of a doubt. As I said for the Fabinho and Joe pairing, they need to get used to each other and the full-backs need to get used to them.
“The more stability you have in this line, the better. We never had that really, especially one position was always with a lot of changes. They will fight together, there is no doubt about that.
Source : goal.com