Premier League • England

Neville believes crucial Liverpool player ‘is missed’ as Klopp makes big January decision

Gary-Neville Sky Sports August 2022

Gary Neville, Sky Sports pundit

Gary Neville does not believe Liverpool are an “amazing defence” and the injured Andy Robertson “is missed” despite Jurgen Klopp slightly easing his absence.

The Reds are facing a few problems in defensive areas at the moment. Each of Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip are currently sidelined – the latter probably for the season.

But it might be seen as more of an issue that the other pair are out at the same time.

That both senior left-backs are sidelined means Klopp has had to utilise Joe Gomez on the left side of the defence.

He’s only played there a handful of times in his career, playing mostly as a centre-back, though the right-footer does have experience of playing as a full-back, generally on the right.

Gomez has started three games at left-back this season, and came on there during the Arsenal game, when Tsimikas was injured.

Every time he’s started on the left, Liverpool have won, and they drew to the Gunners when he came on in that position.

As such, it does not appear the Reds are suffering too much from the absences of their left-backs, given they’ve now increased their lead at the top of the table to three points.

Neville feels Liverpool miss Robertson

However speaking on his podcast after Liverpool beat Newcastle 4-2, Neville stated Robertson’s absence is slightly bringing the level of the defence down.

“They have defended well, but I don’t think they’re an amazing defence, I don’t, but they have an amazing goalkeeper, an amazing centre-back, and a right-back who is something completely different.

“The other two are there, Robertson is a fantastic performer and I think he is missed.”

Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold are some of the top players in the league in their positions, and when fit, Robertson is probably also in that category.

As such, there’s obviously a bit of a drop off from him to Gomez, given he’s not a natural left-back, and simply isn’t of the same quality.

Liverpool might be beating teams by more and managing to shut them out better if Robertson were fit, but that’s not to say Gomez isn’t doing a good job as his deputy.

Klopp moves to ease left-back pain

It’s likely that he’ll continue in the position until one of Robertson or Tsimikas returns from their respective injuries.

It was recently reported that Liverpool were not looking at a left-back signing in January, though they have recalled Owen Beck from his loan at Dundee, where he scored twice.

While he performed well in the Scottish Premiership, he’s only ever played two senior games for Liverpool, and those were for just a few minutes each.

He could be given some experience off the bench, but replacing Gomez seems unlikely, especially with the Reds still winning.

READ MORE: Liverpool, Man Utd battle Real Madrid for £8m midfield prodigy seen as perfect fit in England