Liverpool boss Klopp: We couldn't afford to sacrifice fullbacks

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists their injury woes are cause for their battling season.

Klopp, whose side travel to Sheffield United down in sixth place, has been forced to use 18 different partnerships at centre-back because of long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, with Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Diogo Jota and James Milner also sidelined.

Youngsters Nathan Phillips, Ozan Kabak, Rhys Williams and new Preston signing Ben Davies are fighting it out to start for the ailing champions at Bramall Lane.

Another option would be to ask one of his famed full backs to shift across to add experience. Klopp admits he has toyed with the idea but fears it would have a detrimental effect on other parts of the team.

"I thought about it once or twice to be honest but we didn't do it then in the end," he revealed.

"Losing your regular centre halves changes everything in your game - the build up, formation, how you set up, how you protect.

"You pick a team on the basis of how can you defend with the players available and we have had to change constantly.

"The way our full backs play and perform is usually pretty stable for us. If you moved them on top of everything else, you change the structure in the middle and on the wing - a double change.

"That is probably the reason why I didn't do it."

Klopp will remind his players of the success they have had as he tries to turn around the current run.

"As long as my team shows me that they really want to alter the situation, I am completely on their side,' he said. 'The rest we can change. That is not always in the time frame the outside world wants but still you can change it and that is what we try."