Ozan Kabak has added to Jurgen Klopp’s injury headache at Liverpool, with the Reds boss revealing that the on-loan centre-half is set to sit out the home date with Fulham on Sunday.
The defending Premier League champions have had to contend with fitness setbacks on a regular basis this season, with established stars such as Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez ruled out early on.
Fabinho did step back into a centre-half berth in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, but Nat Phillips missed that contest with a slight knock and Kabak has now joined him in the treatment room.
What has been said?
Quizzed at a pre-match press conference on whether he would like to get a Brazil international back into a midfield role, Klopp said: “It would be great.
“We had a problem that Nat couldn't play. We had to make a decision. Do we take an inexperienced pairing on the pitch or do we play with Fab?
“Now Ozan has a little problem after the game. We will see if he's ready - doesn't look like it.”
Klopp added, with another January addition, Ben Davies, still waiting on his debut: “Nat will be ready and Ben as well.
“It's not easy in our situation, we brought him in and he’s had to adapt. He's a really good player. We have to see which decision we make for it. Looks like everyone could be available for Sunday but Ozan.”
Who else is on Liverpool’s injury list?
Van Dijk and Gomez have been long-term absentees for the Reds, forcing Klopp into regular rounds of tactical tinkering.
Joel Matip is another established centre-half option that has been ruled out, while club captain Jordan Henderson has undergone surgery on the groin problem he picked up after filling in at the back.
The rest of Liverpool’s walking wounded have started to return, with James Milner and Diogo Jota figuring off the bench in a disappointing defeat to Chelsea.
What other topics did Klopp discuss?
Unsurprisingly, the decision to replace Mohamed Salah in a crunch clash with his former club has been generating plenty of debate at Anfield.
Klopp can understand why, with the Egyptian clearly disappointed to be removed just past the hour mark against the Blues, but the Liverpool boss was doing what he felt was right and expects the issue to blow over.
He said on Salah: “We talk, that's how it always is. Is this situation a reason for a 'proper talk' about it? I'm not sure.
“He wasn't happy with being subbed as a striker, wanted to stay on. A normal issue. It's all OK.”
The German want on to say of the Reds’ uncharacteristic struggles in front of goal: “We all have to improve, definitely.
“Mo is still a great scorer and everyone knows even he could have scored more. That's not a problem but in general we have to improve.”
The bigger picture
Salah remains the Premier League’s top scorer this season, with 17 efforts to his name, but has gone three games without a goal.
Sadio Mane has gone five league games since he last found the target, while Roberto Firmino is on a seven-game barren run and has just six efforts to his name all season.
Those issues in the final third have contributed to Liverpool slipping to seventh spot in the table, while five successive defeats on home soil have been suffered for the first time in the club’s history.