Monday 17 June 2019

Henderson faces fitness test as Klopp juggles squad for Brighton

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of captain Jordan Henderson before tomorrow's game at Brighton.

The midfielder has sustained a calf injury and will undergo a fitness test today to establish if he can make the trip south.

He suffered the injury on the eve of Liverpool's FA Cup third-round defeat by Wolves at Molineux on Monday.

With several injury problems arising over the past few weeks, Jurgen Klopp's squad is being stretched.

The Liverpool manager will be without Dejan Lovren tomorrow due to the hamstring problem the centre-back picked up in the early stages of Monday's 2-1 loss, while fellow defender Joel Matip is not likely to have recovered from a broken collarbone in time.

Matip is making progress and, like Lovren, could be back to face Crystal Palace on January 19.

Joe Gomez is missing until February due to a leg fracture sustained at Burnley last month.

That means another midfielder, Fabinho, is likely to continue as a makeshift centre-back at Brighton as Liverpool seek to preserve their four-point lead at the top of the Premier League. The Brazilian played in that role at Wolves alongside 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever, who replaced the injured Lovren.

Defence

If Fabinho features in defence, Liverpool can ill afford for Henderson to be absent as it will limit midfield options.

Henderson had been pencilled in to play at centre-back alongside Fabinho at Molineux prior to his injury.

His late withdrawal meant that Lovren - who was due to be rested with Virgil van Dijk - had to play. Liverpool paid the price after just five minutes of the tie.

James Milner, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri are available, but Adam Lallana will also need to prove his fitness to be involved.

Lallana was also meant to start at Wolves on Monday but was a late withdrawal.

Henderson and Lallana will try to complete a full training session today before Liverpool travel to Brighton.

Despite the injury issues, Klopp has made no plans to enter the transfer market as he anticipates having a full squad available by the end of the month.

Liverpool's only activity so far has involved outgoing loan deals and the £19m (€21m) sale of Dominic Solanke to Bournemouth.

Teenager Ben Woodburn, who has returned to Anfield after a disappointing loan spell at Sheffield United, will be allowed to move on again for the remainder of the season.

Telegraph.co.uk

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