Klopp should pair Fabinho with Phillips or Williams: Richard Buxton
Reds boss should play Phillips or Williams alongside Fabinho against Spurs
Liverpool lost a chance to return to the top of the English Premier League after being held 1-1 by Fulham yesterday morning (Singapore time), but more could be lost this week if Juergen Klopp doesn't find a solution to his defensive conundrum.
With injuries mounting, they will need something special when they host the Special One's Tottenham Hotspur in a top-of-the-table clash on Thursday morning.
With Joel Matip now looking doubtful, a makeshift backline will need to get it right to cope with the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Admittedly, the options are limited for Klopp, who is already without long-term casualties in senior centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Short of hoping Matip can make a swift recovery from the back ailment that forced him out of the second half against Fulham, Klopp might need to improvise - again.
He could opt for another midfielder, as he did by moving Jordan Henderson to partner Fabinho at the heart of defence at Craven Cottage.
But, cohesive as the pair have been operating in the middle of the park, they are not shape-shifters.
Whatever reservations he harbours about thrusting the likes of Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams into the spotlight again, they are clearly capable of operating alongside Fabinho in the likelihood that Matip fails to recover in time for the blockbuster clash at Anfield.
Liverpool's defence conceded only five times after 12 games in 2018/19, and just 10 at this stage last season.
But, in this injury-ravaged season, they have shipped 18 goals in 12 matches for the first time since 2014/15, when they also let in 18.
Elsewhere, injuries are continuing to mount.
Klopp confirmed before the game that forward Diogo Jota and left-back Kostas Tsimikas face spells on the sidelines, after taking part in last week's Champions League dead rubber against Midtjylland.
Following the duo's dreaded diagnoses, Liverpool now have five players out with knee injuries, including van Dijk, Gomez and Thiago Alcantara.
Losing the prolific Portugal international until at least late next month has the potential to deliver long-term implications to his manager's quest to retain the title that his team fought so valiantly to claim just six months ago, especially with Tottenham in the hunt.
Jota scored nine goals in 17 appearances for the Reds since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers in September, and will be sorely missed if Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are shackled by Jose Mourinho's stifling approach.
Liverpool's front three lacked their usual spark at Craven Cottage, and will likely find themselves frustrated by Mourinho's soak-and-strike philosophy.
The Special One knows that a defining week lies ahead for his side, with the Lilywhites' trip to Anfield followed by the visit of third-placed Leicester City in a matter of days.
Yet Mourinho's penchant for frustrating Liverpool on their own turf is actually more profound as they seek to defend a 3½-year unbeaten home record in the EPL.
In a season where seemingly anything can happen, the Special One will relish the prospect of setting up Spurs to frustrate their immediate challengers for the crown.
Taking great risks has yielded considerable rewards for Klopp but gambling on every game is consistently backfiring.
Viable solutions are available to the Liverpool manager if he looks close enough to home, instead of continuing to wage war on external factors.
This is one battle he cannot weaponise against opposing players or the television schedulers.