Jordan Henderson’s message to Jurgen Klopp over being Liverpool’s ‘Mascherano’ at centre-back

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Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis has Jurgen Klopp facing up to the remainder of the season without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Gomez underwent successful knee surgery this week after picking up a serious injury on England duty which, like Van Dijk, leaves him battling to play again this season.

With Fabinho also sidelined, Joel Matip is Liverpool ’s only senior centre-back with youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams next in line.

But Jurgen Klopp recently admitted that Jordan Henderson is amongst those in contention to fill-in if necessary.

Even before losing Gomez, Klopp was considering deploying Henderson as Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano, who moved from midfield to defence under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

Jordan Henderson filled in at centre-back in the Club World Cup semi-finals last year
(Image: REUTERS)

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Klopp said: ”And we have still, obviously, other options like Hendo or Gini or James – or Robbo can play centre-half as well.

“They are all not smaller than Mascherano, for example, and he played pretty well in that position.”

Unlike Andy Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum, also mentioned as potential options by Klopp, Henderson has played centre-back before.

He stepped into the role in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals against Monterrey in Doha last year.

The Reds edged a 2-1 win after a late Roberto Firmino – and Henderson responded to questions about filling in at centre-back after the game.

Henderson praised Joe Gomez, now injured, as one of those who helped him settle into the role
(Image: Andrew Powell)

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He admitted it was a challenge and, ironically, praised Joe Gomez, the man he could now replace, for helping him settle into the role.

“It was a bit different!” Henderson told BBC Sport post-match.

“But I just tried to do my best in that position.

“I had great people around me – Robbo and Joe were talking to me all the time.

“The most important thing was the win [and] we defended pretty well for the majority of the game."

In his press conference after the game, he again praised those around him for making his life easier.

And he told manager Jurgen Klopp he would be happy to fill in again if needed in order to help the Reds.

Henderson said: “I had fantastic players around me and they helped me out. When you have that quality around you, it makes it a little bit easier. It was different to anything that I have been used to.

"I've played at full-back but I've never played there before. I just tried to do my best for the team and thankfully we got the win in the end.

"I don't know what will happen with Virgil on Saturday. Fingers crossed he will be OK.

"Of course, if the manager needed me to go there again, I would do it. It is anything to help the team."