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Football Reporting


Henderson reacts to becoming makeshift centre-half as Matip adds to Liverpool’s injury woes

The Reds’ struggles on the fitness front show no sign of abating, with another senior defender heading back to the treatment room

Jordan Henderson has vowed to remain “switched on” if he is required to continue filling in at centre-half, with an untimely injury suffered by Joel Matip forcing the Liverpool captain into an unexpected positional shift.

Jurgen Klopp was forced to get creative with his tactics once again on Sunday during a clash with Fulham.

The reigning Premier League champions found the going tough at Craven Cottage, with a second-half penalty from Mohamed Salah salvaging a point in a 1-1 draw.

Little went in the Reds’ favour during their visit to west London, with the need to replace Matip at half-time compounding their misery.

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Henderson was asked to fill in for another defensive injury victim – with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez already stuck on the sidelines – and he believes he is up to the task.

The Reds skipper told the club’s official website when asked whether better ball retention from Klopp’s side in the second 45 against Fulham made his life easier: “We had a lot of the ball, which helps, so, yes, that did help a little bit.

“But there were still times where I had to defend – set-pieces or counterattacks and things like that. So I’ve got to make sure that I’m switched on all the time, especially playing in a new position.

“But overall, we could have come away with the three points in the end but we got punished for our start to the game. That was unlike us, so hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Henderson added on a lacklustre showing that prevented Liverpool from returning to top spot in the table: “It wasn’t like us. It was all over [the field] really.

“I felt we were a little bit late to second balls, we weren’t winning headers and when you lose them individual battles it’s difficult.

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“I don’t know what the reasoning behind that is but we’ve got to take that and make sure that doesn’t happen again going forward, learn from it and keep doing what we did after that.

“I thought there was some really good stuff and we dominated the game for large parts, created one or two, not loads of chances, but one or two – enough to win the game.

“So, there were still good things but still things for us to improve on.”

Liverpool will get an immediate opportunity to play their way back into form on Wednesday, with Klopp’s side readying themselves for a meeting with leaders Tottenham.

“Another big game comes quick around the corner,” said England international Henderson. “A big game for us and we need to recover well, get ready and prepare for that one.

“The Premier League is competitive and no matter what position you are in on any given day, it is always a tough game. We knew Fulham would make it difficult and they did that.

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“We’ve just got to keep going. There’s a lot of games over a short space of time but it’s the same for everyone – demanding, injuries and stuff like that, but that makes us stronger as a squad.”

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