Jurgen Klopp avoids transfer mistake after gifting first-team chance to unwanted star

Klopp 'can't wait' for Liverpool to play in front of full Anfield

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If there was a lesson to be learned from Liverpool’s failed title defence for Jurgen Klopp, it was that the German was perhaps to reliant on his favoured starting XI. The Reds have long been able to boast having one of the strongest lineups in Europe, but when it came to their squad depth, the team suffered during an unprecedented injury crisis.

When Virgil van Dijk suffered an ACL injury against Everton in October, it was regarded as a huge blow and rightly so.

But when Joe Gomez and Joel Matip followed him onto the injury table, it was clear that a defensive injury crisis was brewing at Anfield.

It left Klopp completely exposed in defence with only Nathaniel Phillips and Fabinho able to come into the backline.

It was no coincidence that the largely untested defensive pairing struggled in their first few matches and Liverpool’s confidence nosedived.

It would be wholly unfair to suggest Klopp could have anticipated such a situation. But it still happened and his replacements struggled with the expectation of playing week in, week out.

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Now though, Klopp has equipped himself with a sturdy backline after signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig to give the Reds sufficient backup.

At right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold has an exciting youngster in Neco Williams to come in if gets injured or requires a rest.

But as the Reds prepare for the second Premier League fixture of the season, there is an unfamiliar presence of Kostas Tsimikas at left-back.

Andy Robertson has been ruled out for several weeks through injury and that means the Greek, who had already been making improvements in training, has been drafted in.

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To suggest this is a lifeline for the full-back is an understatement. In truth, his Liverpool was already dead in the water before Robertson’s injury.

Liverpool moved to sign Tsimikas last summer in a £11.75m deal from Olympiacos after some impressive displays in the Europa League.

But the 25-year-old was hardly seen in his first season at Anfield, making a handful of appearances in the Champions League.

It was clear there was a general reluctance from Klopp in allowing Tsimikas to fill in for Robertson last season.

And even when the Scot was absent, James Milner or Neco Williams deputised, with Tsimikas left waiting on the bench.

With just two Premier League appearances last season totalling only six minutes of action, Tsimikas could not have been blamed for seeking a move elsewhere.

Klopp would have surely entertained the move given his lack of status at the club. But injury to Robertson changed everything.

After a full pre-season with the club, Tsimikas was dropped into the deep end with a first Premier League start against Norwich.


The left-back was solid throughout, showing his tendency to advance up the pitch and whip in teasing crosses.

Liverpool fans were pleased with his display and now, Tsimikas has received backing from a former Reds star.

If anyone knows how hard it is to adapt and become a mainstay in a Liverpool team, it is Jose Enrique. The Spaniard featured prominently under Kenny Dalglish but was phased out when Brendan Rodgers arrived.

But Enrique says he sees potential in Tsimikas’ performances for the club.

“He did really well against Norwich, and he had a good pre-season,” the Spaniard told NetBet. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/liverpool-tsimikas-andy-robertson-challenge-21350124

“Everyone was really surprised how well he’s done since coming back.

“When he arrived you can see his energy, but he’s behind one of the best left-backs in the world.

“It was difficult for him to get that game time; I believe he needed time to adapt to what Klopp wanted.

“Even Robertson needed time when he arrived because Alberto Moreno was in front of him.

“Klopp’s style of play is very difficult to adapt to, so it takes time, but Tsimikas looks like he’ll be a very good back-up to Robertson.”

Robertson is due to return to first-team training shortly and there is no question the Scot will slot back into the team when fit.

But for now, Tsimikas can enjoy the chance to prove to his manager that he is not an expensive transfer flop — but a man who can be relied on.

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