Trent could be unleashed in midfield as Liverpool braces for a major injury.

Liverpool received some bad injury news during international duty as the Reds brace for Andy Robertson’s absence

Trent Alexander-Arnold during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool FC at American Express Community Stadium on October 8, 2023

Trent Alexander-Arnold during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool FC at American Express Community Stadium on October 8, 2023 (Image: Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images)If he was intending to send a reminder of his value to Liverpool, Kostas Tsimikas couldn’t have timed it any better.

The Greece international helped put his country on their way in their Euro 2024 qualifier in the Republic of Ireland on Friday night by sweeping in a cross from the left for Giorgos Giakoumakis to hammer in a header for the opening goal of a 2-0 win.

It was only the fifth game Tsimikas had started this season with just three coming for his club. But events in Spain the previous night mean the 27-year-old can now expect to see much more action during the next month.

Andy Robertson was forced off before half-time in Scotland’s 2-0 defeat in Seville after dislocating his shoulder during a challenge with goalkeeper Unai Simon. The defender returned to Merseyside to undergo scans on Friday to ascertain the extent of the damage, with Liverpool braced for confirmation of an extended spell on the sidelines.

Jurgen Klopp, then, will now enter unknown territory regards the left-back role. Since Robertson broke into the first-team in December 2017, he has been absent from a Premier League squad on only 12 occasions, two of which were through suspension. He has in that time never missed more than two league games in succession, a proud availability record that is almost certain to be ended during the latest batch of matches.

Worryingly, Liverpool have won only one of the last six Premier League games in which Robertson has not been even among the substitutes. On each occasion, Tsimikas was the starting left-back.

Of course, there are more factors at play than just the presence of the Greek in defence. And with James Milner having departed in the summer, Owen Beck on loan at Scottish Premiership side Dundee and Luke Chambers only making his senior bow as a late substitute in the League Cup win over Leicester City last month, Tsimikas is the obvious choice to deputise for Robertson. Joe Gomez has featured at left-back in the past for Liverpool, but his last start in the role was way back in January 2018.

How the inclusion of Tsimikas impacts Liverpool’s current box-midfield formation with Trent Alexander-Arnold operating as an inverted right-back will be interesting. Robertson has had some issues in adapting to the new approach, particularly when being asked to move inside to act as a third centre-back. Arguably, Tsimikas is even more attack-minded than the Scot.

Intriguingly, though, he spent part of pre-season playing in the inverted full-back role from left-back when Joe Gomez was at right-back. With Klopp suffering from injuries, suspensions and dealing with the headache of post-international break travel ahead of the return to Premier League action at home to Everton next Saturday, the full-back combination of Tsimikas and Gomez opens the possibility of pushing Alexander-Arnold into a defensive midfield role.

Tsimikas, as he demonstrated in Ireland, will at least offer creativity from the defensive flank. He has contributed six assists in each of the last two seasons, and his dead-ball prowess makes him a threat at set-pieces. Indeed, in terms of minutes per assists, Tsimikas ranks higher than any other player to have featured for the equivalent of 25 games under Klopp. The sample size, though, is small – the Greek has accrued barely 15% of the playing time Robertson has for Liverpool.

Beyond doubt is that Tsimikas will benefit from more appearances. Of the Liverpool players to have seen first-team action this season, only Caoimhin Kelleher, Ben Doak and Stefan Bajcetic have featured for fewer minutes. Come next weekend, Tsimikas will have started just five Premier League games in a year, and played for the full 90 in the top-flight just twice in almost 18 months.

During the next month of games before the November international break, Tsimikas would have been expected to start home and away in the Europa League against Toulouse and the League Cup tie at Bournemouth. Now the demands are likely to be much increased, from feast to famine. Tsimikas must be ready.

Klopp will cross his fingers and hope Tsimikas avoids injury when Greece entertain Holland in their next Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday. The new contract signed by the left-back indicates Liverpool are happy with his contribution. Now is the ideal time to justify that faith.

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