Things have been going really well for Liverpool, it is safe to say. The Reds have enjoyed an excellent run in the league, culminating in some excellent performances including a dominating 2-0 win at Arsenal in midweek. This has left them just a point off Manchester City ahead of going to the Etihad Stadium in two matchdays. However, they might be without one of their most important players as Trent Alexander-Arnold has injured his hamstring.
The academy hero damaged his hamstring in the win against Arsenal and looked pretty uncomfortable come to the end of the game. There is little surprise, then, that he will miss the weekend FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest and also the international break. It remains to be seen if he can get fit enough to take part in the upcoming league match with Watford in April, or whether he will make the City game in early April either. For Jurgen Klopp, though, it is a problem that he has no issues in dealing with.
The German has been somewhat fortuitous with injuries in recent weeks, as other clubs have begun to feel the strain of injuries building-up. For Klopp, though, the big problem is that they have no like-for-like replacement for Alexander-Arnold. While in James Milner and in Joe Gomez they have players wo can play the role, the lack the same attacking impetus and ability that Alexander-Arnold brings to the table.
Speaking about the situation, Klopp said: “Of course, to replace Trent is difficult – but possible,
“I don’t know any player who plays like Trent, so its difficult to find a one-to-one replacement.
“We have Milly [James Milner], Joe [Gomez], theoretically we can change the system as well, these kind of things. So we have a couple of options.
“When you look in the past when Milly has had to step up he has done incredibly well. And if not maybe we have a young solution.”
Can Liverpool cope without Alexander-Arnold?
As one of the best full-backs in world football, it is no surprise that Liverpool are short on confidence in replacing Trent like-for-like. However, the aforementioned players as well as academy prospect Neco Williams could feasibly take a role in the team and play to a high standard. Williams have not been involved much this season, but has played admirably when given a chance to take part in the first-team picture.
For Liverpool, the challenge will be to come out of the FA Cup tie without any serious injuries. With the league and UEFA Champions League – where Liverpool will travel to play S.L. Benfica of Portugal – so tight and close, the FA Cup becomes arguably the most sacrificial of the tournaments left. Though it is unlikely that Klopp will give up on any tournament, expect Liverpool to look to be economical with their squad in the Forest tie.
With so much still to come, Klopp and co. will need to hope that this injury to Alexander-Arnold is a one-off within the squad.