Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson is facing three months on the sidelines with manager Jurgen Klopp admitting the defender’s pending shoulder surgery will be “a big loss” for the club.
The Scotland captain sustained the problem on international duty against Spain but having been assessed on his return to Merseyside the club have decided an operation is the best solution – even if it means the 29-year-old faces a lengthy absence.
“There is a little chance we could try without but talking to pretty much all experts it looks like surgery will be the best thing, especially in the long term definitely, and that means he is out for a while,” said Klopp.
“You only see the real extent of injury when you have a look into it, like properly open (up the shoulder) and fix it – but my experience tells me around about three months.
“That is a shoulder (injury), usually not a lot of times you say it was earlier but Robbo is a quick healer, that is true.
“In this specific case we have to make sure the shoulder structure is stable, because the moment the boy starts all the normal contact stuff again the player has to be ready for that.
“I don’t exactly when, but next Wednesday (or whenever he has the operation) we will know more.
“In my experience you can train pretty quickly again but not football-specific because you have to be careful of challenges and all these kind of things so he will be out for a while. It is a big loss.”
Robertson has played every minute of all eight Premier League matches this season and has been ultra-reliable for Klopp, having missed just five matches in 275 appearances in more than six years for the club.
It means the Scot’s back-up Kostas Tsimikas, who has made 65 appearances in just over three seasons and many of those as a substitute, could make only his second appearance in a Merseyside derby on Saturday.
Other alternatives are the predominantly right-sided Joe Gomez, who has more experience, and 19-year-old Luke Chambers, whose only first team appearance was as an 89th-minute substitute in last month’s Carabao Cup win over Leicester.
On the significance of Tsimikas being ready, Klopp added: “It always was like this.
“Thank God it is not only Kostas we have for that because for the amount of games we have we would already be a bit short.
“But we have Joe Gomez who can play the position, Luke Chambers and other young boys who show up in training quite frequently.
“There is a lot of talent in there so you need options and that is clear. Kostas is definitely the most experienced in the position but he cannot play all the games from now on so we need other options as well and we have to make sure we make all of them.”
Klopp could also field a midfield with no derby experience – Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo all arrived in the summer – but the Reds boss does not believe that is a concern.
“It is a special game no doubt but a high pressure game and they all played them. Macca played the World Cup with Argentina, Dom played Serbia recently in a super-important, high-pressure game so they are all used to the kind of game,” he added.
“The exact game, not, but I cannot show them a movie of derbies and say that is how they should be. I don’t think we have to make it too big.”
Liverpool have lost just one of the last 18 matches against their closest rivals – the behind-closed-doors one at Anfield in the Covid era in February 2021 – but Klopp is not thinking about their record.
“It is rather uncomfortable if you tell me about my good record because it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“We try to make sure we don’t think about these things but make sure we are ready, we understand the importance of the game and can’t remember one moment when I said ‘weekend derby’ and enjoyed this thought.”