Arne Slot could see one of two future Liverpool partnerships as injury forces Jürgen Klopp call

Ibrahima Konaté of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on May 02, 2024 in Kirkby, England.
Ibrahima Konaté is among the center-backs Jürgen Klopp could pick when Liverpool plays Spurs. -Credit:John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

For many a Liverpool fan, the season is perhaps as good as over. With just three games remaining, Champions League qualification secured and the Premier League title all but out of reach, it does feel as though there is little to play for now.

Thoughts are understandably turning toward next season, when there will of course be a new manager in charge. Arne Slot looks to be man chosen to succeed Jürgen Klopp, although the man himself has indicated that an agreement has not yet been reached.

We may therefore have to wait until the end of the season for Slot confirmation, with just a few weeks remaining now until Klopp bids farewell to Anfield. You can absolutely bet that the outgoing Liverpool boss won’t be downing his tools early.

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With a difficult April now behind them, the Reds will be aiming to get back to winning way against Tottenham on Sunday. They look as though they will have to do it without their captain Virgil van Dijk though.

The 32-year-old is a major doubt after missing training this week. It means two of Ibrahima Konaté, Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah will likely start at the heart of the Liverpool defense against Spurs, although it’s far from an easy decision, with the Reds’ backline not in the best of form at the moment.

What should Klopp do? Two of our writers have had their say, and you can add yours in the comments section below the article.

"Joe Gomez has earned a chance at center-back" - James Martin

With the pressure now off, the 'big' calls for Klopp are suddenly a little less significant. So leaving out Ibrahima Konaté despite Van Dijk being absent would be notable, but not earth-shattering.

And in truth, the way the season has gone, it's hard to argue with giving the nod to Quansah and Gomez. They've probably enjoyed better individual campaigns overall, and Konaté has had a particularly testing last few weeks.

Gomez has been in such good form that he has earned an England recall, but precious few of his minutes have come in his favored position. With others either injured or out of sorts, he has more than earned a chance to reclaim the role he played with such distinction in the title-winning season.

Alongside Quansah, who has had a real breakout campaign, he could give potential new manager Slot a look at one of the options for a defense of the future. Van Dijk won't be around forever, and if Gomez is going to stake a claim in the next-generation back line, it's approaching now-or-never time.

"Ibrahima Konaté needs to get back into form" - James Findlater

There’s never really a good time for Van Dijk to be injured, although with Champions League qualification assured, there are certainly worse times. Given recent results though, Liverpool shouldn’t be resting on its laurels.

If there is a chance of the Reds captain playing, then that would be the preferred solution. Given he will have only had ‘parts’ — as Jürgen Klopp put it — of a single training session in the best-case scenario this week, it’s hard to see how he’ll start on Sunday.

I’d therefore go with Jarell Quansah to replace him on the left side of the center-back pairing. Alongside him, I’d plump for Ibrahima Konaté.

The Frenchman hasn’t been in great form recently, but there’s no doubt that he would be first choice alongside Van Dijk when the pair are fit. The temptation to leave him on the sidelines with not much on the line for the Reds now is great, but some attempt to play him back into form should perhaps be tried.