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Klopp has used 16 different centre back pairing but which was most successful?

  /  autty

Another game, another injury at centre back for Liverpool.

After Fabinho was ruled out of Thursday's much-needed victory at Tottenham with a minor muscle injury, Joel Matip sustained ankle ligament damage and was forced off at half-time.

It has presented a nightmare scenario for Jurgen Klopp: all three of his natural first-team centre backs are out with long-term injuries.

Whether the Anfield hierarchy see this as a final straw to bring a defender in before Monday's transfer deadline remains to be seen - but Nat Phillips and Jordan Henderson's second-half partnership was the 16th different centre back pairing Liverpool have played this season in all competitions.

That's eight different players, with no pair playing more than seven matches together. From youth team to midfielders, everyone has been utilised.

But which partnership has fared best? Sportsmail rates all 16 partnerships to see which one has impressed the most, as the champions' defensive injury crisis worsens with the season just over half-way complete.

1) Joel Matip and Fabinho

The joint most-used pair, Matip and Fabinho have played together seven times, conceding just two goals and keeping four clean sheets in a period which saw the Reds go unbeaten in November and December.

Rating: 8/10

2) Rhys Williams and Fabinho

While the Brazilian - a defensive midfielder by trade - has been a constant at the back, his partners have changed regularly: 19-year-old Rhys Williams also featured during that November-December run of games, playing in seven games with Fabinho, but this duo conceded eight goals and did not record a clean sheet.

Rating: 6.5/10

3) Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk

Jurgen Klopp's title-winning partnership of last season started the first four out of five games of this season, including the Community Shield.

Yet in contrast to their near-perfect record last yer, they shipped three at home to Leeds and that horror showing at Villa Park when they conceded seven means their record of 10 goals conceded is the most of any pairing.

Rating: 5/10

4) Jordan Henderson and Fabinho

Hard to believe, but the recently-formed duo of Henderson and Fabinho are the fourth-most used pair by Klopp, with 225 minutes together over three games. A clean-sheet at home to Manchester United the undoubted highlight.

Rating: 7/10

5) Nat Phillips and Fabinho

Two full matches together at the back, at Brighton and Newcastle in November and December respectively. Would have been a faultless record, were it not for Andy Robertson conceding a late penalty at the Seagulls.

Rating: 7/10

6) Fabinho and Joe Gomez

The Brazilian makes the top-five with his fourth centre back partner, as he featured alongside Gomez following Virgil van Dijk's injury in the Merseyside Derby. Three games, one goal conceded, before Gomez was injured on international duty in November.

Rating: 7/10

7) Rhys Williams and Joe Gomez

Again, in that October-November period, Klopp toiled with Gomez alongside Williams, such was the impressive start the teenager made in first-team action. In fact, in 210 minutes together, the pair did not concede a goal.

Rating: 7.5/10

8) Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk

Played together on various occasions in three different games: their only full 90 minutes together, in a 2-0 win at Chelsea back in September, proved that the Brazilian could cope more than adequately in defence.

Rating: 7/10

9) Joel Matip and Joe Gomez

Only twice have these two played together this season: once after Van Dijk's injury in the Derby and second at Manchester City in November. Both ended in draws, but any potential partnership blossoming was quashed with Gomez's knee injury.

Rating: 6.5/10

10) Rhys Williams and Virgil van Dijk

This pair saw the first emergence of Williams, alongside the defensive colossus in the Carabao Cup against Lincoln and Arsenal. Just the two goals conceded at the League One side.

Rating: 7/10

11) Nat Phillips and Joe Gomez

This all-English pairing had just one sole 90 minutes together, in a 2-1 win at home to West Ham on Halloween. It was Phillips' full Premier League debut and he was named man-of-the-match - but the duo were never seen again.

Rating: 7.5/10

12) Joel Matip and Rhys Williams

Started together at home against Atalanta in the Champions League, on a humbling night for the six-time winners. A 2-0 loss, and the pair did not even complete 90 minutes, as Matip was hauled off five minutes before the end. One to forget.

Rating: 4/10

13) Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson

The first-half against Spurs on Thursday night saw the senior pros play together at the back. They got lucky when Son Heung-min's goal was ruled out for offside, but coped reasonably well with the threat from Son and Harry Kane - before Matip came off at half-time with his ligament injury.

Rating: 7/10

14) Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio

After Fabinho was rested for the second-half, 18-year-old Koumetio came on to make his Liverpool debut alongside fellow teenager Williams in the Champions League dead rubber at Midtjylland on December 9, conceding a goal.

Rating: 6.5/10

15) Nat Phillips and Jordan Henderson

The Reds skipper and Phillips looked at ease in the second-half on Thursday, as Spurs struggled to cause any issues to the Reds back-line - and they'll likely start together at West Ham on Sunday.

Rating: 7/10

16) Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk

The ironies of all ironies is that the pair which guided Liverpool to their 2019 Champions League triumph have played together for just 11 minutes this season - and Van Dijk was down injured against Everton for about five of those!

A rock-solid duo who have been sorely missed.

Rating: N/A