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Liverpool’s bench vs. Luton could feature 5 players who’ve never started in Premier League

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The witch is back in the building, and the injury curse shows no signs of lifting, which could see Jurgen Klopp name five substitutes who have never started a league game vs. Luton.

The Reds need to dig deep in more ways than one as they navigate the upcoming fixture list amid counting their losses in the injury department.

Against Luton, Klopp knows he will be without nine senior players, which includes: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai, Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, Thiago, Joel Matip, Stefan Bajcetic and Ben Doak.

Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are doubts for the clash after Klopp confirmed they will be assessed “day by day” after fitness issues from their weekend exploits.

With potentially 11 players absent at Anfield on Wednesday, youth will be needed to bolster the options from the bench, and a potential quintet to do so have zero league starts between them.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's substitute James McConnell during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bobby Clark (19), James McConnell (19), Kaide Gordon (19), Lewis Koumas (18) and Trey Nyoni (16) will all be in contention for the squad – combined they have 18 first-team appearances.

All five have either seen minutes this season or been named in a matchday squad, with their regular training appearances ensuring they are no strangers to the senior setup.

Clark and McConnell have impressed in their first-team cameos to date, seven and five games respectively, and offer needed depth in midfield – with Clark possessing exciting attacking instincts.

Gordon will be no stranger to Liverpool fans, but the club have had to be patient with the forward’s progress after 19 months out with injuries related to his growth.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With six games under Klopp, two as a substitute in the Premier League, the manager will not shy away from using the 19-year-old should he need to.

Both Koumas and Nyoni are younger than the abovementioned trio and have proven themselves at youth level, though their squad appearances to date have yet to result in a first-team outing.

Koumas, a promising forward, has 14 goals in 19 appearances at academy level this season – 10 in his last seven – and while the step-up cannot be understated, he is at least full of confidence.

All have been namechecked recently by Klopp, who has never been shy in handing out opportunities when they are earned, and the club’s youngsters could prove more important than anyone could have predicted this season.

Jayden Danns (18) is also worth a mention, the prolific academy forward has been training regularly with the first-team and could come into consideration.

 

What has Klopp said?

The manager will be counting his losses, but he insisted during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday that his side will offer up “no excuses” amid the growing list of absentees.

“It would be better if I just said no injuries, all fine, and then we just talk about the luxury problem of who will start, we didn’t have that a lot.

“But in the moment you get the news, just deal with it and then go from there. There are no excuses and we will try everything.

“We said it before there are 5,000 different ways to win a football game, you only have to find one.

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“Obviously in a good moment, they all can be in, that’s how it is. We still have options there, definitely, players who showed already what they can do like James [McConnell] or Bobby [Clark].

“Others even who didn’t feature yet but are in or around that, [Lewis] Koumas, Dannsy (Jayden Danns), Trey [Nyoni], they are all massive talents.

“So we will see what we do.”