Gareth Southgate says it is still too early to tell whether Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will be fit for England's Euro 2020 campaign.

The 30-year-old underwent groin surgery at the end of February and was initially ruled out for around five weeks.

But Southgate, who has made clear he will not select players on reputation alone, does not expect Henderson to return until towards the end of the campaign.

England face Austria in a pre-Euros friendly on June 2 and Southgate is unsure if Henderson will be part of his squad for the rescheduled tournament.

"We know it's going to be close to the end of the season and we will just have to see how it goes," he said. 

"We are conscious that with any injury of that nature there is a guide and a time defined, but anything can happen along the way.

"In terms of promises, we can only say that Hendo himself is very optimistic about how the operation went and the prognosis that the specialist has given him as to what is possible.

"We also know he is likely to be a bit short of match minutes in high-level games. 

"There are a lot of things to take into consideration but, at the moment, that is a decision that is a few weeks away."

 

Who could fill in for Henderson?

Henderson has won 58 caps for England and started five games in the Three Lions' run to the semi-finals of the last World Cup.

The former Sunderland man would be one of the first names on the teamsheet if fit, but his possible Euro 2020 absence could give Southgate a selection headache of sorts.

Kalvin Phillips, James Ward-Prowse and Mason Mount started Thursday's 5-0 victory over San Marino, while Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden are other options.

Henderson was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year after helping Liverpool to the Premier League title last season, but he was predominantly used as a centre-back this term before being struck down by injury.

Using his figures from last season's league campaign, the title-winning skipper averaged 88.24 touches per 90 minutes on average.

Among the aforementioned candidates to fill in for Henderson, Ward-Prowse comes closest to that figure this season with 83.59, followed by Bellingham (77.36 in the Bundesliga) and Mount (76.89).

Another area Henderson ranked highly in last season is passes into the opposition half, with 45.28 on average, compared to 38.36 for Mount in 2020-21 - who generally plays in more advanced areas for Chelsea - and 33.41 for next-best Ward-Prowse.

But, learning lessons from the past, could Southgate be after more of a tough tackler in that department? 

If so, Bellingham is out in front this season in terms of tackles won (1.88), in front of Henderson (1.64) and Phillips (1.42).

Jurgen Klopp remains hopeful Jordan Henderson will be back in action for Liverpool before the end of the season after undergoing groin surgery.

The Liverpool captain was injured during the first half of the Merseyside derby defeat to Everton last Saturday. It is unclear when exactly he will return, though the club has confirmed Henderson will not feature prior to the international break in March.

Klopp was not willing to be more specific over a comeback date for the midfielder when he spoke at a news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United.

However, the Reds boss was clear that, despite not being able to participate on a daily basis, Henderson - like Liverpool's other long-term absentees - can still have an influence on the rest of the squad.

"They all have to be influential [while out], that is clear with so many players unavailable at the moment. Most of them are leaders in this group, here doing their rehab," Klopp said.

"Hendo is not here yet but Virgil [van Dijk], Millie [James Milner] and Joel [Matip] all have to be influential here. That's what they will be. When Hendo is back, he will have to play this role while doing his rehab.

"The best-case scenario? I don't know, to be honest. It's not a quick one, but of course we all hope there is still a possibility for him to play a few games this season, but we will see."

Henderson will miss Premier League games with Chelsea, Fulham and Wolves next month, as well as the second leg of the last-16 Champions League tie against RB Leipzig. There are also three World Cup qualifiers for England that he must sit out.

The 30-year-old has started 20 times in the league this term, during which Liverpool have a 45 per cent win percentage and an average of 1.7 points per game.

Unsurprisingly, those figures drop when the skipper is missing. Klopp's side have won two of their five outings in the league when Henderson - so often used as a makeshift centre-back due to injuries in defence - has not played, averaging 1.4 points per match. They have also faced more shots, the average rising from 7.8 per game to 10.

There is some good news for Liverpool over the return of Diogo Jota, while Fabinho is also set to resume training ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United.

Jota has not played in 2021 due to a knee injury but Klopp will not take any unnecessary risks with the forward, even with his side struggling to score goals.

"Diogo trained twice with the team and has looked very good, very good," Klopp said. "But he was long-term out and we have to see what we can do with that, though in training he looks really promising."

Asked later if Jota's return is a timely boost in the battle to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League, Klopp replied: "Of course it's positive, but it's not the only positive.

"It's very positive that Diogo's back after a long time, the others who are out for a long time we will not see any more on the training pitch until the end of the season.

"Yes, it's very positive, and the way he came back in training is very positive. We just have to make a decision about what makes sense for him, when it makes sense for him, these kind of things."

Liverpool travel to bottom club Sheffield United on Sunday on the back of four straight defeats in their title defence; they have not lost five in a row in the top flight since a slump spanning August and September in 1953.

Klopp confirmed no decision had been made on the availability of Alisson for this weekend following the death of the goalkeeper's father back in Brazil.

Liverpool securing a top-four finish in the Premier League would now be a surprise given their dramatic dip this season, according to former Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp. 

Injury issues have badly hampered Liverpool's title defence, with captain Jordan Henderson the latest to go down. 

The England international is expected to be out until April after undergoing surgery on the groin injury sustained in the derby defeat to Everton. 

Liverpool are sixth in the Premier League table with 13 matches to go, with a realistic prospect of them dropping further if Everton and Aston Villa below them win their games in hand. 

They have lost six of their last nine Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 100 in the competition. 

"Teams have found a way," Redknapp told Sky Sports' Pitch to Post Preview podcast. 

"When West Brom came to Anfield, they sat back and let Liverpool get crosses into the box and because they haven't got that focal point of a big striker - you end up crossing the ball for the sake of it. 

"Liverpool have struggled, especially when they go a goal behind, to find the answer. 

"It will come, of course it will come, but right now everything Liverpool do feels difficult, when you're in a team struggling for form, even the basics are not quite happening. 

"They might not finish top four. It wouldn't be a surprise - it's actually more of a surprise if they did finish top four in the form they're in. 

"I don't know what they're going to end up with as their centre-back pairing at the moment. Henderson [being out] is terrible news. They're not a team who can keep going through these partnerships.  

"There's nothing to be scared of about Liverpool right now. This isn't a short fix. Liverpool's results up until the end of the season are going to be up and down."

The return of influential defender Virgil van Dijk and fans coming back to Anfield were highlighted by Redknapp as factors that should ensure a return to form next season. 

But reflecting on their 2020-21 woes, he insisted injuries were not the only issue, with individuals also struggling. 

"One thing you can't deny is the levels have dropped," Redknapp added. 

"If you were to go through the team, the keeper has not been as good, Trent Alexander-Arnold, last year and the year before, his levels have been so high. 

"The best right-back in the world we were talking about, but he's not been the same player this year. 

"That can be through a number of reasons - is he thinking, 'I've cracked it? All I have to do is turn up and play', and maybe not do the basics of what made him one of the best right-backs. 

"I have seen a drop off and if he's honest he'll look in the mirror and say I've not been as good this year. 

"When you get a bit of criticism, what you've got to do is look at yourself and think can I do better? And there are a number of players who can do better, make no mistake.  

"Individuals have to do better. They'll know that. They have to work harder." 

Liverpool are away to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United on Sunday.  

The Blades have lost 20 of their 25 Premier League games this season (W3 D2) - the fewest amount of games a team has taken to reach 20 defeats in a single campaign in English top-flight history. 

Liverpool will hope Mohamed Salah can continue his impressive form on the road. The Egypt international has scored 16 goals in his last 17 away games in all competitions, as many as he had netted in his previous 51 away games for the Reds. 

Liverpool have announced Jordan Henderson has undergone surgery on the groin injury he sustained against Everton.

Playing at centre-back due to key absences in defence, the Liverpool captain was forced to come off in the 30th minute of his side's 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby at Anfield last Saturday.

Henderson has appeared in 21 of the Reds' 25 league games this season, his solitary goal coming in the 7-0 rout of Crystal Palace in December. He has also made six appearances in the Champions League, the last of them in the 2-0 away victory over RB Leipzig in the round of 16.

A timetable for his return to action has not been revealed, though the club have confirmed the England international will be out until at least after the international break in March.

"Following further assessment with the club's medical team, Henderson has successfully had a corrective procedure carried out on the adductor injury," a statement from the club read.

"He will begin a rehabilitation programme immediately.

"No specific timescale is being placed upon his return; however, the 30-year-old is ruled out initially until after the March international break.

"Henderson's recovery will be closely monitored by the club's medical department and his progression during his rehab work will determine when he is able to resume full training."

The absence of his skipper is a further blow to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, particularly considering the 30-year-old has so often filled in at centre-back this term due to the long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Henderson will miss Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, as well as league fixtures against Chelsea, Fulham and Wolves in March.

He is also ruled out of the Champions League second leg against RB Leipzig, while England boss Gareth Southgate will have to do without the midfielder for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

Jurgen Klopp said losing star captain Jordan Henderson to injury was a "massive blow" after Liverpool's faltering Premier League title defence hit a new low on Saturday.

Henderson suffered a groin injury as champions Liverpool were upstaged by Everton 2-0 in Saturday's Merseyside derby at Anfield.

After Richarlison put Everton ahead in the second minute, Henderson was forced off the field by the half-hour mark as Liverpool's injury crisis mounts.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty with seven minutes remaining condemned Liverpool to their first home defeat to neighbours Everton since 1999.

"It's a massive blow losing Hendo [Jordan Henderson] again, massive, but Nate [Nathan Phillips] played a super game," Liverpool manager Klopp told reporters post-match.

"Again, we got used to it, unfortunately, that we have to change things,

"We just try to set up again for the next game and as long as we have 11 players we will do that.

"The boys are still full of desire, I see that. But to change a football game, a result, to get the result you have to be decisive in the right moments, defensively and offensively and that's what we are lacking."

Liverpool were already without Fabinho – himself a stand-in for Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury in October's reverse fixture at Goodison Park.

Liverpool have lost four consecutive home league games for only the second time, last doing so back in December 1923 – when they were also defending top-flight champions.

Everton picked up their first win over Liverpool in 24 meetings in all competitions (D12 L11) – ending what was the Reds' longest ever unbeaten run against a single opponent.

Liverpool fans are sure to already be feeling sufficient hurt from Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Everton.

The Reds came into this Merseyside derby having not lost to their rivals in over a decade, while you had to go back as far as 1999 for a loss at Anfield.

But this is a result that held significance beyond local bragging rights - it could well be the one that condemns Jurgen Klopp's side to Europa League football next term.

It is not necessarily that the gap is too big, with Liverpool still just three points behind fourth place despite their recent woeful run.

Nor is it that the opposition are too good - Chelsea also dropped points on Saturday, Everton still trail their neighbours, and Leicester City showed last year that they are capable of a late-season collapse.

Yet it is almost impossible to imagine the reigning champions making any of that pay as they contend with injury problems that simply refuse to ease.

Klopp started this game with his 17th different centre-back partnership of the season in defence, none of whom had made it through three consecutive games.

And that dreadful record was extended in the first half as Jordan Henderson limped off to be replaced by Nat Phillips.

The long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have not just left a hole in the defence, they have also put too much demand on their replacements.

It is no coincidence that two of them - Henderson and Fabinho - are both now sidelined with muscle problems. 

Throw in the fact they are also being desperately missed in midfield and that the acquisition of the inexperienced Ozan Kabak now looks like little more than desperation and it does not add up to a solid foundation.

Of course, the problems don't just stop there, as one goal in almost nine hours of football at Anfield underlines.

The loss of Diogo Jota as a rotational option during a season more relentless than any other is no doubt part of that - again, it comes back to injuries.

Things may ease slightly on that front in the coming days, with Jota, James Milner and Fabinho close to returning, though Klopp must now wait nervously on Henderson.

Still, these players will come back into a Liverpool team that has just lost four on the bounce in the league at home for the first time since 1923 and is well short of confidence.

Only a huge change in fortunes on the fitness front will allow the Reds to put together the sort of turnaround in form that would make a top-four finish a possibility.

But supporters won't be holding their breath, and the consequences of that are sure to be far-reaching.

The reluctance of the club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, to spend during a pandemic was evident in the buy-now-pay-later deals agreed for Jota and Thiago Alcantara over the summer.

There was a notable lack of risk, too, attached to the mid-season loan of Kabak, who arrived from Schalke only with an option to buy attached.

And the Americans are unlikely to be willing to sanction any big-money deals if Champions League money is not present on next season's accounts.

If there is one upside for Liverpool, it is that clubs across Europe who might covet the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are unlikely to be able to finance such moves themselves.

But either way, it is likely that more pain awaits, not just across the remainder of this season, but into the summer as well.

Jordan Henderson suffered an apparent groin injury in the Merseyside derby as Liverpool's injury woes continued.

With Liverpool trailing to Richarlison's early strike at Anfield, captain Henderson was forced off in the 30th minute. That was shortly after he went close to equalising with a superb volley which was well saved by Jordan Pickford.

Henderson pulled up while tussling with Abdoulaye Doucoure and, though he attempted to carry on, he had to make way for Nathaniel Phillips.

It resulted in another makeshift, untested centre-back pairing of Phillips and Ozan Kabak for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who was already unable to call on Fabinho, himself a stand-in for Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury in October's reverse fixture at Goodison Park.

Liverpool's defence was immediately tested after Henderson's departure, with Alisson keeping out Seamus Coleman's close-range header.

Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Liverpool's performance in their win over RB Leipzig, particularly as he felt "people expected us to slip up again".

The Reds took charge of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday as they claimed a 2-0 first-leg win in the relocated fixture in Budapest.

Goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the second half, each coming from defensive errors from Leipzig, gave Liverpool a victory that makes them firm favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

The result and performance was a notable departure from their recent run of form, which had seen them win just three of their previous 12 games in all competitions.

Manager Klopp felt it was a timely response to those who expected his players to struggle against the Bundesliga's second-placed side.

"It was a game we wanted; it was a game we needed," he told BT Sport. "Leipzig can be a real monster, they overrun teams, they're really physical, and tonight we controlled them in a really exceptional way.

"I think we got the result we deserved. We defended the situations really well.

"Tonight, we deserved to win. A lot of people were waiting for us to slip up again, and we didn't. We were really good for two years and then this year, we have some problems. A lot of people expected us to slip again, just because of the situation, and the boys didn't. That's what I'm really happy about."

Captain Jordan Henderson, who again deputised at the heart of the defence, wants Liverpool to maintain the standards they hit at the Puskas Arena.

"It was an important game for us, a tough game, but we're really happy with the performance overall," he said.

"Keeping a clean sheet was important for us as well. From start to finish, defensively, throughout the team we pressed well and won the ball back.

"It's a good win but it's only half the job done. We've got to be pleased with that because Leipzig are a good side.

"We just want to keep going, keep fighting every time we play. Tonight was a good step in the right direction for us. We need to continue with that performance level and if we do, we'll get some good results along the way."

Jordan Henderson believes Thiago Alcantara has been a "brilliant" addition for Liverpool despite significant struggles for Jurgen Klopp's side of late.

Klopp conceded Liverpool's Premier League title defence was effectively over after a 3-1 weekend defeat at Leicester City left them 13 points shy of leaders Manchester City having played a game more.

The Reds are back in Champions League action against RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday, bruised by a run of five defeats in seven domestically and three in succession.

Spain playmaker Thiago arrived as a coup of a close-season signing from European champions Bayern Munich, billed as the man to take Klopp's phenomenal winning machine to the next level.

He sparkled on his debut from the bench in a 2-0 win at Chelsea but a bout of coronavirus them preceded a maiden start in the Merseyside derby against Everton, one cut short by Richarlison's red-card lunge.

That meant a lengthy spell on the sidelines until the December 30 0-0 draw at Newcastle.

Thiago returned to the starting line-up at Southampton next time out and the 1-0 defeat was the first of six reverses in his subsequent 10 outings in all competitions - culminating in the nightmare unravelling at the King Power Stadium.

Nevertheless, club captain Henderson holds his team-mate in the highest regard.

"Thiago's been brilliant since he's come to the club. I think everyone knows how good a player he is. He's a world class player," he said.

"Even off the field he's a really good person, leads by example and you learn a lot from him.

"He's been a fantastic addition to the squad."

Pass master interrupted by injuries

Injury means Thiago is yet to play a minute in the Champions League this season, making comparisons with his purring form in Bayern's treble run last time around tricky.

But judging per 90 minutes played, the former Barcelona man's main stock in trade appears to be in good order.

Thiago averages 78.1 successful passes each match for Klopp's men, second only to Henderson (81.1) this term, set against 84.3 last season for a Bayern team a little more noted for their ball retention.

He creates 1.2 chances per game for Liverpool, up on 1.1 for the Bavarian giants in 2019-20, while his overall passing accuracy has only dropped fractionally from 90.6 per cent to 89.2.

Complaints that Thiago has neutered Liverpool as an attacking force can be countered by the fact that no Reds player averages more than his 30 passes ending in the final third per game, suggesting a progressive element of his game is very much present. He passed into these danger areas 24 times per 90 at Bayern last season.

Perhaps concerns should be more centred upon what happens when Thiago doesn't have the ball.

A liability in the tackle?

Having started the Leicester match on the bench, only to be pressed into action by James Milner's first-half injury, his foul on Harvey Barnes inside the final 15 minutes led to the hosts' equaliser and started the meltdown.

Thiago's tracking of Barnes for Leicester's third also left plenty to be desired but he can be a danger to himself and his team when he engages opponents.

Despite his limited game time, the 29-year-old's 28 fouls this season are second to Sadio Mane (49) in Klopp's first-team squad. Among first-team regulars, his 2.6 challenges per 90 are only behind Milner (2.9).

He might want to dial back this more unhelpful part of his work rate, although the other side of this is 7.5 recoveries (behind Henderson's 8.3 among outfield regulars) and 2.2 interceptions (joint second with Naby Keita to back-up defender Neco Williams on 2.4) every game.

Of course, the most important statistic of all arrives at full-time, and so long as Liverpool are winning 59.1 per cent of their games without Thiago and 30.8 per cent with him, the doubters will remain.

Not that Henderson is among them, as opponents and a competition that have seen his colleague thrive await.

"He probably knows Leipzig better than anyone, so he'll be telling us a few things over the next 24 hours," he added.

"He's settled in very well, like I knew he would. He's a phenomenal player and hopefully he can keep improving every time he plays for us and getting used to the way we play as a team."

Jordan Henderson has dismissed the rumour of a bust-up between Liverpool team-mates Alisson and Andy Robertson in the aftermath of the 3-1 defeat to Leicester City.

After the Premier League champions conceded three times in the space of seven minutes to lose at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, speculation circulated on social media over the possibility of Jurgen Klopp sensationally leaving the club. 

There were also posts online relating to an alleged altercation between goalkeeper Alisson - who was involved in a mix-up with Ozan Kabak for Leicester's second goal - and defender Robertson in the dressing room after the game. 

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie against RB Leipzig, Henderson revealed the players saw the funny side of the rumours as he made clear the squad remains united in a bid to turn their fortunes around. 

"I don't think I even need to comment on something like that," Henderson told the media.

"Someone's sitting behind a keyboard making rumours up about the manager or the players in the dressing room. 

"I quite like the one where Robbo and Ali were having a fight. That made us chuckle a bit."

Henderson also offered praise to Klopp - who stated in his pre-match media conference that he has no plans to leave his job – and called on the players to put in a performance to reward their manager's unwavering support during a difficult period. 

"The manager is really good in situations like this. Through adversity he's the one we'll listen to the most. He's always there for us as players and tries to protect us as much as possible," the England international said.  

"Deep down, we know as players we take full responsibility and it's down to us to change this tough period. 

"There are no question marks over how he reacts after games. He probably reacts the opposite to how people would think and he handles situations like that very well. 

"That's why we want to go and put a performance on - for the team, but for him as well." 

Liverpool will play the away leg against Leipzig in Budapest due to travel restrictions currently in place in Germany amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Reds will hope a resumption of their Champions League campaign can help lead to an improvement in results on the pitch, having lost three on the spin in their domestic title defence. 

Leipzig reached the semi-finals in the previous season and qualified for the knockout rounds this term ahead of Manchester United. However, their tally of 12 goals conceded in the group stage was the highest of any team to reach the last 16. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold accepted Liverpool's players had let themselves and the fans down after falling to a 4-1 defeat at home to Premier League leaders Manchester City. 

Liverpool were condemned to a third consecutive league loss at Anfield, making the Reds the first reigning champions to suffer such a run in the English top flight since Chelsea back in March 1956. 

Mohamed Salah's second-half penalty at least ended Liverpool's league goal drought at 410 minutes, though having drawn level at 1-1 from the spot, the home team fell apart to leave their already slender title hopes in tatters. 

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson twice made costly mistakes that led to goals for Ilkay Gundogan – his second of the contest – and Raheem Sterling, while Phil Foden slammed in a late fourth to complete the Merseyside rout. 

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool now sit 10 points behind leaders City, who also have a game in hand, but full-back Alexander-Arnold promised supporters the Reds will improve as they aim to finish the season strongly. 

"We know we've let ourselves and the fans down today. No excuses," the England international wrote in the Twitter post.

"It just has to be better to finish the season strong. We'll give it everything."

Liverpool have won just two of their past eight Premier League games – both away in London – but still remain in the top four. 

Klopp takes his squad to third-placed Leicester City next, with captain Jordan Henderson insisting the players must quickly get the heavy loss out of their system as they focus on the rest of the campaign. 

"When you get beat it’s always disappointing, especially in the manner we did in the end," Henderson told the club's website. "It's never nice. 

"It's hard to take now, but in football you've got to move on quickly. We've got a full week to get it out of our system, train properly – which we haven’t had for a while. 

"So we need to use it the best we can this week to get prepared for a tough game against Leicester." 

Liverpool sit on 40 points in the Premier League table, 27 fewer than they had after 23 games in their title-winning season. That is the biggest drop-off by any reigning champion at the same stage of a campaign in English top-flight history.

Jurgen Klopp is full of praise for the "football smart" Jordan Henderson as the Liverpool captain looks set to continue at centre-back – a position he could switch to on a full-time basis later in his career. 

The reigning Premier League champions continue to have issues at the heart of their defence due to injuries, Joel Matip the latest to go down after suffering ankle ligament damage in the 3-1 win at Tottenham on Thursday. 

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees, there is still the possibility Liverpool could make a move before the January transfer window closes to strengthen that area of their squad. 

Fabinho has filled in admirably having moved back from midfield, but he too is now sidelined. The Brazilian's absence saw Henderson start in defence against Spurs, a game that involved an enforced change of partner at half-time, Nathaniel Phillips coming on to replace the injured Matip. 

The England international again demonstrated his versatility – and perhaps gave a further glimpse into his long-term future – during an assured display at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Klopp impressed by how serenely his skipper has managed to adapt to the complexities of playing in the role for the Reds. 

"We should not forget that he is actually an eight, which makes it even more special. He's an eight, transformed into a six, transformed into a four," Klopp said ahead of Sunday's trip to West Ham. 

"He can play all these positions. The first thing that says is about how football smart Hendo is. His physical skills are obvious, but just how football smart he is.  

"They are completely different positions, especially the eight. There are some teams who play with a six so deep that it's kind of a three at the back, but he never played like this. That would have made the transition quite easy. We play with a six in a different way – that's how it is." 

Despite playing in defence, Henderson still made 29 passes in the opposing team's half in the triumph over Spurs; it was his chipped ball over the top that found Sadio Mane and led to Liverpool's opener on the stroke of half-time, scored by Roberto Firmino. 

The 30-year-old did not look like a fish out of water when playing there in Premier League fixtures against Southampton and Manchester United either, suggesting that – when the time is right – he could make a permanent switch from versatile midfielder to ball-playing centre-back. 

"I wish him a long career," Klopp said when asked about Henderson's potential to shift deeper as his career progresses. 

"Centre-half is one of the positions he can play, thankfully for us. He had a good game against Tottenham, too.  

"What makes it so exciting is, with his football skills, he can be very influential in our build-up as well. He had a big hand in our first goal, a nice little chip for Sadio, who then made the square pass for Bobby."

Henderson has not been dribbled past by an opponent during his three league outings at centre-back, with Liverpool conceding twice in those fixtures. It is a small sample size, of course, but it is a sign of Klopp's faith in his players that he has not looked to change the style of play or tactical approach to ease the burden on those covering for absent team-mates. 

Against West Ham, Henderson seems set to be utilised in the role again. Either Phillips or Rhys Williams will be in the team alongside him, though Klopp remains hopeful Fabinho is not too far away from a return, potentially in time for a home clash against Manchester City on February 7.

Perhaps by then the Liverpool boss will have a new signing to pop on the defensive carousel. Matip's fragility has seemingly increased the urgency to explore options ahead of Monday's deadline, but panic buys are not part of the long-term plan at Anfield.

If there is no defensive addition, however, Klopp at least knows that he has on-field lieutenant in Henderson that is capable of thriving, no matter where he lines up.

Liverpool suffered another injury blow as Fabinho was ruled out of Thursday's Premier League clash at Tottenham but captain Jordan Henderson returned.

Fabinho has moved back from midfield into the heart of the champions' defence impressively with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees, but the Brazil international missed out against Spurs due to a minor muscle issue.

Henderson sat out the shock home defeat to Burnley and the FA Cup fourth-round loss at Manchester United last week, but the skipper returned to fill in at centre-back again alongside Joel Matip.

James Milner lined up for his 550th Premier League appearance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Sadio Mane returning to the starting line-up as the Reds looked to end a five-match winless run in the top flight.

Tottenham were without Sergio Reguilon due to a muscle injury, so Matt Doherty came into the side in the only change from their last Premier League game at Sheffield United.

Jurgen Klopp is not feeling the pressure despite Liverpool's worrying form, believing the shock home defeat to Burnley can act as a catalyst to "change things properly". 

The reigning champions were downed by a late Ashley Barnes penalty as their 68-game unbeaten run at home in the Premier League come to a stunning end on Thursday. 

Klopp watched on as his team endured a fourth successive league outing without scoring, leaving them six points off the pace in the title race. 

Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie with league leaders Manchester United, Klopp explained how Liverpool have not used the right tools of late, something the Reds will work hard to correct as they look to get back to somewhere near their best.

"I don't feel the pressure from outside, I deal with the pressure I put on myself my entire life. I'm used to that already," Klopp told the media while previewing the trip to Old Trafford. 

"When you have had the success we've had, there are two directions then. One is you keep going exactly on the same level, which is difficult with the challenges you have around. The other one is it gets a little bit less. 

"At the moment, it feels like a lot less. That's what we have to change, we are not like this where we think that just because we try, we should get everything. We are really ready for the fight; we are ready for the battle, 100 per cent. 

"But, in the moment, we don't use the right tools. That is true as well. That is what we absolutely have to adjust and improve, and that's what we are doing. 

"The only problem is the tests we face are constantly in the public and on television, so everybody watches each little step in whatever direction. That is obviously nice when you have a good run, and when not in a good a run it's not exactly the same, you don't get the same joy with it." 

Liverpool are on a five-game winless streak in the Premier League and while the loss to struggling Burnley was disappointing, Klopp hopes it can be turned into a positive, offering something of a reset point during what is an arduous season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Reds had 27 attempts at goal on Thursday, six of which were on target, while they have now had 87 efforts since previously finding the net in the league, a run that started after Sadio Mane's early opener in the 1-1 draw with West Brom on December 27.

Klopp's side are the first English top-flight team since West Ham in 1967 to have failed to find the net in four successive league matches, yet still be the division's top scorers.

"In these moments, I'm not in doubt about us as a group at all," Klopp – who also confirmed Mohamed Salah is set to start against United – said. 

"But these moments are where you need the group to come close together and do the right things. That's what we do. 

"We lost that game [to Burnley] and it was a really low point. It was not like I thought, 'Oh, who cares?' – it was a game we lost.  

"When I think back, I cannot find a reason why we lost that game, but we lost it. With all the things that happened – the penalty, the chance we had, all these kind of things – but it happened. 

"Sometimes, you need a really low point to change things properly. That, for sure, is what we will try now, 100 per cent. 

"If we would have won in a bad game, somehow 1-0, the world would have said it's not the football that we usually play but it's a result. But, in the long term, it wouldn't be a real help. That game can be a real help, if we use it."

Liverpool have only reached the FA Cup fifth round once in Klopp's five previous seasons at the club, doing so last term before they were knocked out by top-flight rivals Chelsea.

After thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0 on December 19, Liverpool were six points clear at the Premier League summit. 

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were all on target in the clinical rout at Selhurst Park, after which Jurgen Klopp said: "It was really difficult to play against us."

The reigning champions had seemingly found top gear again. 

Fast forward to January 21 and, following a stunning 1-0 loss to Burnley at Anfield, Liverpool were left to wonder just where it had all gone so badly wrong.  

For a fourth successive outing in the league they had failed to score, while the shock result sees them stuck in fourth position in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United. 

Never mind moving through the gears: the wheels have well and truly come off. 

BARNES HARMS AILING CHAMPIONS

Ashley Barnes' penalty condemned the Reds to a first home defeat in the league since April 23, 2017. It had been three years and 273 days since former Liverpool player Christian Benteke struck twice for Palace in a 2-1 triumph. 

The run of 68 games unbeaten was the second longest in English top-flight history. During the streak, there were 55 wins, 176 goals scored and 36 clean sheets. A total of 43 players were used, too.

Joel Matip, Georginio Wijnaldum, Firmino and Divock Origi were also in the starting XI that were beaten by Palace, managed by Sam Allardyce, nearly four years ago, while Trent Alexander-Arnold came on as a late substitute.


GOAL-SHY LIVERPOOL MISS CAPTAIN

Since Mane's early strike in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on December 27, Liverpool have registered 87 shots in the Premier League without managing to find the net. Eighty. Seven. Shots.

It was not for a lack of trying against Burnley, admittedly. They had 27 total attempts, their most in a single league match without scoring since April 2013 versus Reading (28).  

The absence of Jordan Henderson did not help. Even prior to kick-off, Liverpool had lost more of their 11 Premier League games without their captain (3) than they had in 45 games with him (2) since the start of last season.

KLOPP STREAK CAUSES CONCERN

This is not yet uncharted territory for Klopp at Liverpool; he previously went five league games without a win between January and February in 2017. 

That barren run four years ago included fixtures against Sunderland and Hull City – clubs now in the third tier of English football – and a home defeat to current Championship side Swansea City, who were celebrating at Anfield thanks to goals from Fernando Llorente (two) and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

However, Klopp has never previously gone four without a goal during his Reds tenure. The previous time that happened in his coaching career was while in charge of Mainz, who suffered a drought in the Bundesliga late in 2006.


POPE SAVES ALL AS REDS PAY THE PENALTY

Nick Pope excelled when Burnley ended Liverpool's 100 per cent home record in their title-winning campaign – and the goalkeeper was once again in outstanding form on Merseyside.

The England international made six saves to keep a clean sheet, having produced eight in his side's 1-1 draw in July at the same ground. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, no keeper has made more saves against a single opponent in the Premier League than Pope against Liverpool (19).

Barnes' penalty was the second spot-kick Liverpool have conceded at home this season too – they had only given up two penalty goals at Anfield under Klopp before 2020-21.

There is plenty for the German to ponder, then. While retaining the trophy is far from out of reach, what appeared to be a temporary blip is in danger of turning into a full-blown crisis.

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