Considering Liverpool spent most of last season with barely a centre-back to their name, it seems strange to think the heart of defence could be one of the Reds’ most competitive battles for game-time in the upcoming season.

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all returning from injury while £36m man Ibrahima Konate will be looking to hit the ground running.

Meanwhile, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams performed so admirably to help get Jurgen Klopp’s side over the line in the race for top four, and there is still the enigma of Ben Davies on the Anfield books.

While the latter trio can’t really expect to start for Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp has his full quota of centre-backs available, the battle to be Van Dijk’s first-choice partner will be fiercer than ever.

But could the Reds boss throw in a curve ball and steer away from his traditional 4-3-3 system next season.

Andy Robertson’s performances at left wing-back for Scotland at Euro 2020 certainly make it an intriguing possibility.

The Scotland created a tournament high six changes in the Tartan Army’s opening 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic, and was impressive again against England on Friday night.

Understandably not able to offer the same level of threat in attack against the Three Lions, he still had the license to get forward without the same urgency to get back.

Considering Liverpool’s options, it is a system that could appeal to Klopp if he fancied varying things up on occasions.

After all, such a role could be perfect for Trent Alexander-Arnold too, allowing both Reds full-backs to get further forward and do what they do best, delivering dangerous crosses into the box.

Meanwhile, the pace of Van Dijk, Gomez and Konate behind a defensive screen of Fabinho would offer them solid protection, with Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Roberto Firmino vying for the remaining two positions in midfield, dependent on whether Klopp favours a number 10 or not.

And such a system would also allow Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to play upfront, giving them further opportunities to threaten in the box and prove why they are two of Liverpool’s deadliest finishers.

Considering the Reds’ problems in front of goal last year, it could help them create and convert more chances against those more defensively-minded sides if Klopp did fancy a change.

Just don’t expect it to be unleashed against a Man City or Chelsea if Liverpool do adopt such a system next season.

Ta-ta, Trent?

Considering all the talk regarding whether Trent Alexander-Arnold would be included in England’s Euro 2020 squad, given the depth of competition, it was ironic that the Liverpool right-back ended up missing the tournament through injury after being awarded his place.

Yet, having seemingly not convinced Gareth Southgate of his talents, it’s hard to say how much game-time he would have been afforded had he been fit.

With Kyle Walker and Reece James absent for the Three Lions’ friendly win over Austria earlier this month, he was given the nod, but his injury robbed Southgate of the opportunity to weigh up all four of his favoured options.

Having utilised both Walker and Kieran Trippier against Croatia on opposite flanks in England’s opening game, Southgate turned to James as England took on Scotland on Friday night.

While perhaps unable to get forward as much as he would have liked, the Chelsea man performed admirably against the double-threat of Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney with the England boss seemingly no closer to working out his first-choice right-back.

Of course, with Walker aged 31 and Trippier aged 30, the long-term battle looks set to be between Alexander-Arnold and James in the years ahead.

But having missed Euro 2020, the Liverpool man has some catching up to do if he is enjoy the same impact on the international stage as he does at Anfield.

England v Scotland is kicking off tonight at Wembley and you can get your hands on the EURO 2020 tournament programme wherever you're watching - and whoever you're supporting!

The official programme covers the tournament from start through to the quarter finals, with 11 versions available. Each of the 11 venues has a special edition with a unique cover and intro to the host city and stadium - so tonight the London edition will be on sale at Wembley. With star-name interviews and special features, it is a must-read for all of us enjoying EURO 2020!

https://reachsportshop.com/matchday_programme/uefa-euro-2020-official-programme-london-edition/

Hey Jude

Had it not been for injuries, Liverpool would have been likely to boast a plethora of players in the England squad for Euro 2020.

After all, had it taken place last summer as originally planned, both Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would have had good cause to believe they would be included, along with the withdrawn Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Of course, there had been the possibility that the Reds would have had no representation this summer as captain Jordan Henderson faced a race against time to prove his fitness after undergoing groin surgery in February.

While he was unable to feature again last season for Liverpool, he did enough to earn a place in Southgate’s squad with the England boss sharing how important the Reds captain is to his squad even when not fully fit when speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

A Premier League and Champions League winner, the 31-year-old is one of the most experienced figures in the England squad and, without any of his team-mates at club-level for company, he has been making new friends with some of his international colleagues.

Henderson was caught joking around with Jack Grealish at Phil Foden’s expense earlier in the week, and has appeared to have struck a close bond with Borussia Dortmund youngster Jude Bellingham.

The 17-year-old became the youngest player to feature at a European Championships against Croatia, but sat unused alongside Henderson against Scotland on the bench.

Southgate had spoken of how useful the Liverpool captain was proving to be for some of the younger players in the squad, and Bellingham appears to be one of the main benefactors.

When arriving at Wembley and inspecting the pitch, the duo walked along side-by-side, deep in conversation as they prepared for the match.

And with fans already speculating that Henderson could be sowing the seeds for a future transfer to Liverpool, supporters will continue to watch Bellingham’s progress in the Bundesliga with great interest.