Belfast Telegraph

We have quality to stifle Germans without Virgil Van Dijk, says Jordan Henderson

 

Real belief: Jordan Henderson
Real belief: Jordan Henderson

By Phil Medlicott

Jordan Henderson has backed Liverpool to cope in Virgil van Dijk's absence when they host Bayern Munich tonight - and declared himself ready to play at centre-back if asked.

Van Dijk will be missing from the Reds' defence for the Champions League last-16 first leg as he serves a one-match ban.

Dejan Lovren (hamstring) is a doubt, while Joe Gomez (broken leg) is sidelined, and boss Jurgen Klopp may deploy midfielder Fabinho alongside Joel Matip in central defence.

Reds captain Henderson said of Van Dijk yesterday: "He is a massive miss. I think you can see how important he is for us. But at the same time I feel as though we have enough quality in the team to be able to cope with it.

"And it is not just relying on our two centre-halves to defend - it is up to the whole team to defend, and we do it together.

"So whoever plays there, I am sure they will know the role and what's expected of them."

The England midfielder, who filled in at right-back in Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Leicester on January 30, was asked if he would be confident to play as a central defender if called upon.

And Henderson said: "Yes. Obviously I would give it everything, and I would be ready.

"When I spoke to the manager about playing full-back, it wasn't really a question of, 'Could I play there'? It was a question of, 'Would I be confident and ready to be able to play there'? And I said, 'Of course'.

"Whether it's centre-half, right-back, anywhere on the pitch - wherever I'm asked to play, I'll always be ready to play football and give everything for the team."

Liverpool - second in the Premier League, behind Manchester City on goal difference with a game in hand - were beaten in last season's Champions League final by Real Madrid, who had defeated Bayern in the semis.

Henderson added: "They (Bayern) are world-class and it will be tough, but we are confident that if we play the way we know we can, we can cause problems."

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