Andy Robertson: ’No team in the world deals with 18 different partnerships’

Andy Robertson: ’No team in the world deals with 18 different partnerships’

Andy Robertson is in no doubt that “not one” team in world football would be able to navigate Liverpool’s injury pile-up which has led to 18 different centre-back partnerships to date.

The Reds have been dealt blow after blow this season as injury has besieged the squad and taken with it all three senior centre-backs they started the season with.

What was the league’s best defensive outfit is now one which is being continually patched up with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip no longer available to call upon.

It has led to the likes of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Billy Koumetio and most recently Ozan Kabak to slot in and form part of Liverpool’s 18 different centre-back combinations to date.

With Ben Davies yet to feature and Fabinho and Henderson both battling injury, that number is set to soar beyond the 20 mark by season’s end.

And the instability in addition to blooding inexperienced players into the system has put a lot of pressure on Robertson’s shoulders with roles and responsibilities continually changing.

“If you tell any team in world football that they’re going to have 18 different partnerships in a season at centre-back, no team in the world deals with that, not one,” Robertson told Sky Sports.

“Usually we have, for instance, Virg who’s very vocal, we have Joey Gomez that leads by example, and Joel who leads by example. We’ve had Fabinho, Hendo.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 24, 2020: Liverpool’s Joe Gomez challenges for a header with Sheffield United's Oliver McBurnie during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 24, 2020: Liverpool’s Joe Gomez challenges for a header with Sheffield United's Oliver McBurnie during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“But now we’ve got Nat Phillips, who obviously wasn’t here last season, he was out on loan. We’ve got (Ozan) Kabak who’s a young lad who’s just come in. We’ve got Ben Davies, who’s been signed from a Championship club and needs to take time and big Rhys (Williams), of course.

“All of them are relatively inexperienced and it’s trying to help them, but also trying to help the team by focusing on yourself.”

“It’s been tough for me personally but it’s part and parcel of it.

“I’m probably the leader at the back, I’m probably the most vocal at the back now and it’s just trying to make sure that we do as well as we can and we try to keep as many clean sheets as we can because that’s the only way we’re going to win games.”

No one could have expected the turns this season would take for Liverpool off the back of their title success, but the Scot is not wrong in his view that the absence of so many key figures could be easily overcome by any team in the world.

The knock-on effect has been just as profound throughout the entire squad, not just in defence, and it would be foolish to overlook when passing judgement on the Reds this season.

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