Liverpool face a defensive challenge as four key defenders will be absent for their upcoming match, paving the way for Conor Bradley to make his Premier League debut.
In their scheduled clash against AFC Bournemouth on Sunday (16:30 GMT), Liverpool anticipates introducing the talented Conor Bradley to the Premier League arena.
The Reds are set to embark on the journey to the south coast with a significantly diminished squad. A total of eight senior players will be unavailable due to a combination of injuries and international duty.
Among the notable absences from Jurgen Klopp’s squad is Trent Alexander-Arnold, the vice-captain who has exhibited stellar performance this season, contributing with two goals and nine assists in 25 appearances. Unfortunately, a knee injury will keep him sidelined, although he is nearing a return.
Liverpool are grappling with the absence of three full-backs, including Alexander-Arnold. On the left side, both Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas are nursing shoulder and collarbone injuries. The likelihood of them being sidelined with unusual problems is higher than Joe Gomez, who has adeptly stepped in but is not expected to score a hat-trick against Bournemouth.
Joel Matip, facing a lengthy absence due to knee surgery for a ruptured ACL, adds to Klopp’s defensive woes as Liverpool aims to extend their lead by five points at the top of the table.
Conor Bradley is expected to fill the void on the right side of the defence against Bournemouth, marking his Premier League debut. While he has gained experience in the Carabao Cup, Champions League, FA Cup, and Europa League, this will be his first appearance in England’s top flight.
Although it represents a significant leap for the youngster, his loan stint at Bolton Wanderers last season provides encouragement. The 20-year-old impressed with seven goals and six assists in 53 matches, contributing to Bolton’s League One play-off finish and EFL Trophy victory at Wembley.
A spell away from Anfield, combined with a back injury suffered during pre-season, kept Bradley out for nearly four months, postponing his Premier League debut.
Bradley showcased a remarkable performance in the 2-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg victory against Fulham, marking his most significant game to date. The former Dungannon Swifts youngster demonstrated impeccable skills, successfully neutralizing the formidable attacking duo of Willian and Antonee Robinson on the Cottagers’ left flank.
Additionally, he made an impressive impact in the offensive plays, completing two key passes and two dribbles. Klopp expressed his enthusiasm after the game, stating: “I told him before the game already I was waiting for that moment that we can give him the opportunity.
“I was really waiting for it because when he got injured in pre-season, my opinion about him was already here [high] and then he was out for a pretty long time. A top boy. Today was pretty intense for him. Somebody has to drive him home hopefully because he really is sitting in the dressing room and doesn’t look great!
“He gave his absolute everything and it’s just so nice to see, it’s really so nice to see. And the next is sitting outside on the bench already. That’s really cool that he could show how good he already is and, of course, so much more to come.
“In the first goal, things like this happen, but if you are a defender there will always be an involvement in a goal somehow. But it’s all about how quick can you get into the game again and I didn’t see any kind of reaction – I liked that a lot.”
Klopp clearly values him as a player, and Bradley is set to become the 254th player to play for Liverpool in the Premier League.
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