Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's four options to replace injured Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool are riding high at the moment, with the possibility of a quadruple still on the table, but completing such an achievement was never going to be easy. Jurgen Klopp was thrown a curveball on Friday with the news that Trent Alexander-Arnold will be unavailable for “weeks” with a hamstring injury.

“Trent is out with a hamstring injury which will also keep him out of England duty. We need to see how long,” Klopp said in his press conference. When asked for more detail, Klopp added that the full-back will be out of action for “weeks”, although the exact timeline of his recovery is unclear at this early stage.

The injury is a cruel blow for Alexander-Arnold, who has been in fantastic form recently and was set to feature for England in friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast in the upcoming international break. However, it does give Klopp a reason to experiment with different tactical set-ups in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Nottingham Forest.

“Of course to replace Trent is difficult but it’s possible,” Klopp added. “We have Millie, we have Joe (Gomez), we could even change systems. We could find a young solution. But the way Trent plays, I don’t know another player in the world who plays like him.”

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Whoever replaces Alexander-Arnold will struggle to replicate his skillset. After all, there are not many full-backs who can record 15 assists in 35 appearances. But his unavailability does still open the door for a different style of play.

James Milner would be the most obvious replacement for Alexander-Arnold, having already started at right-back three times this season, including in the previous round of the FA Cup against Norwich. The 36-year-old has a fantastic engine and is the dictionary definition of dependable.

Gomez has endured a frustrating season since returning from a long-term knee injury in the summer. The 24-year-old defender has made just 14 appearances so far this season, eight of which have come off the substitutes’ bench.

Klopp rarely, if ever, strays from his tried and tested 4-3-3 formation, but the injuries could prompt a shift to a three-man defence with wing-backs. If that is the case then Sadio Mane – or even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Harvey Elliott, Kaide Gordon – could be entrusted to start on the right, with Robertson or Kostas Tsimikas on the opposite side of the pitch.

Neco Williams is Alexander-Arnold’s long-term understudy, but is currently out on loan with Fulham. In his absence, Conor Bradley is the most likely academy player to make the step up, if required. The 18-year-old has played in the position against Shrewsbury, Leicester and Inter Milan this season and would relish the opportunity to play once more.

Whatever option he chooses, Klopp will be hoping to escape the fixture without any more injuries ahead of the international break. If he can get through the match with a win while gaining knowledge of Alexander-Arnold alternatives then it will be a job well done.

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