Mark Lawrenson has claimed that Jurgen Klopp could play Kostas Tsimikas at right-back for Liverpool.
Speaking to Off The Ball (6mins 28secs), Lawrenson was asked how Liverpool can cope during Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury absence.
Before turning his attention to Tsimikas, Lawro said he thought Joe Gomez was a perfectly passable deputy for the man who wears number 66.
“I don’t have an issue with him (Gomez), I think he’s a better defender than Trent,” said Lawrenson.
He obviously doesn’t give you what Trent gives you going forward. But that’s not a great issue in Liverpool’s team because they’ve got so many creative players anyway, so I don’t see that as a great problem.”
Gomez did a good job as Liverpool beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the City Ground yesterday. As well as providing the defensive stability that you’d expect from a centre-back, he also looked threatening going forward.
His performance was matched by that of Tsimikas on the other side. The Greek left-back helped to provide the game’s key moment as his flat cross was poked in at the back-post by Diogo Jota.
And Lawrenson thinks that his right-footed cross hinted at the potential for a new position for the 25-year-old.
“Tsimikas as well, he’s two-footed, he could play right-back if you really wanted him to,” said the pundit.
An interesting idea that we hadn’t really thought about. Maybe it could work.
Lawrenson’s comments do serve to highlight an issue that hopefully won’t be exposed whilst Trent is out injured.
There is no out-and-out replacement for the 23-year-old. He is a special, generational footballer, but Liverpool have to find a way to ensure that they don’t lack creativity when he’s missing.
As The Reds chief goal creator, Jurgen Klopp’s team often rely on the right-back to find a way through packed defences. Which he often does.
But just because Trent offers above and beyond what most full-backs do, it doesn’t mean that anyone filling in for him has to as well.
Rather, the onus should be on other players to step up for Liverpool. As Lawrenson points out, they don’t lack in creative players.
They don’t have a natural playmaker in the Philippe Coutinho mould, but they do have a player with 10 Premier League assists to his name this season – Mohamed Salah.
In Thiago Alcantara, Liverpool also have one of the best players in the world at threading tight balls through crowds.
Instead of relying on a player like Gomez to provide the creative sparks, Liverpool must find a way to spread the responsibility through the team.
It could even be that this tactical tweak could surprise a few teams who expect Liverpool to attack primarily down the wings. Club staff are hopeful that Trent will be back after the international break anyway, so let’s hope this potential plan B is never needed.