Liverpool will be without teenage defender Ki-Jana Hoever for their next few fixtures after he was called up by his country.
The 17-year-old right-back has been named in the Netherlands squad for the upcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Brazil, as per onsoranje.nl, the official website of the Dutch national team.
The tournament begins on October 26th, with the final on November 17th, and if the Dutch were to add the world title to the European crown they won earlier this year, it would mean that Hoever will be unavailable for Liverpool’s next seven matches.
On the face of it, Hoever’s absence from club action owing to the Under-17 World Cup should not affect Jurgen Klopp’s side unduly, with the teenager playing just once for the first team this season and being an unused substitute in one other game for the senior side. [via TransferMarkt]
If anything, it is the Reds’ youth and reserve teams who will feel the force of his national team participation, with the defender playing in five Premier League 2 games and both UEFA Youth League matches so far in 2019/20. [via TransferMarkt]
However, if Trent Alexander-Arnold was to become unavailable through injury or suspension over the next month, it would leave Klopp with no natural right-back replacement.
Nathaniel Clyne, the only other senior right-back at the club, remains out of action due to the anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered in pre-season, with the ex-Southampton man not expected back until January at the earliest, according to The Telegraph.
If Alexander-Arnold is ruled out for any reason, the only other conceivable right-back options are Joe Gomez and Fabinho.
Fabinho has plenty of experience at right-back, having played there 98 times in his career, but all except one of those came before summer 2016, while his last game at right-back was two and a half years ago. [via TransferMarkt]
If Alexander-Arnold comes through the next month without any injuries or suspensions, Hoever’s absence due to the Under-17 World Cup should not make any real dent in Klopp’s plans.
However, between now and mid-November, every time the England right-back hits the deck clutching at a body part or is approached by a referee after flying into a challenge, the Liverpool manager could be sweating profusely and contemplating the possible need for someone in the squad to plug a major gap in the team.
Can Joe Gomez regain his starting spot?
Liverpool fans, are you worried that Hoever’s national team selection could leave a dearth of right-back cover if anything happens to Alexander-Arnold? Comment below with your views!
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