4 ways Liverpool could line up without Wataru Endo

Liverpool will have to cope without Wataru Endo over the next little while as he features for Japan at the Asian Cup. Here's how they could line up while he's gone.

Wataru Endo has spent the last few months becoming an integral member of Liverpool's first team. The holding midfielder started five games in 13 days last month - the first Red to do so since 2006.

But he's not going to be around for a little bit. Endo will play for Japan at the Asian Cup, potentially keeping him out until the 10th of February - depending on how they do.

And so Jurgen Klopp and co. will have to be a little inventive to stitch a midfield together without him. Here are four options he'll have without Wataru Endo.

Szoboszlai - Mac Allister - Jones

Here's by far the most obvious one. This was essentially the midfield Klopp went with pre-Endo (or pre-Endo's breakthrough). Alexis Mac Allister would play the sitting role, with two more advanced midfielders on either side.

Everyone should pretty much expect this now. It worked reasonably well at the time and that was while they all got used to one another. Now there's experience and familiarity there, it should work better.

Of course, it's not as defensive with Mac Allister there. Liverpool would instead hope to make up for the defensive deficiencies by being a better team with the ball.

The other wrinkle is Dominik Szoboszlai who may now be out with a hamstring problem. That could see Harvey Elliott drift into the spot on the right.

Szoboszlai - Alexander-Arnold - Jones

The more the season has gone on, the more Trent Alexander-Arnold has played in midfield. Sometimes he's just moving in from the flank, other times he's literally playing as a midfielder.

And now there's an excuse to do it a little more often. Owen Beck's return from his loan gives an option at left-back, allowing Joe Gomez to play right-back again. That opens the door for Alexander-Arnold to move into midfield.

Certainly, his passing range from deep is unrivalled. Liverpool woud add a new element here, possibly making up for the lack of an out-and-out defensive midfield player.

Mac Allister would also be free to play in place of either Szoboszlai or Curtis Jones - as well as Elliott.

Mac Allister - Thiago - Jones

So here's something completely new. If Szoboszlai really has done his hamstring, then he's not an option for the next little while. Thiago, however, might be.

He's very close to a return to training and Klopp may want him back in there ASAP. After all, the other thing Liverpool lose with Endo disappearing is his experience - he's the only midfielder over the age of 25.

Other than Thiago. The Spaniard hasn't played all season but does know the deep midfield role well and Klopp has used him there before. It's possible we see a quick return to the XI with Endo goe.

Elliott - Alexander-Arnold - Mac Allister - Jones

This one feels unlikely but at least a little possible. Klopp could make up for the lack of both Endo and Mohamed Salah by switching to a four in midfield.

This way he has Elliott on the right, Jones on the left - a position he knows - and two midfielders capable of sitting a little deeper and keeping things compact. It would be a stop-gap measure but one that could work.

Again, we can't expect Klopp moves away from the 4-3-3 even with his limited options but this is there if necessary.

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