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Duo tipped to cost Liverpool Champions League qualification and big-money Jude Bellingham deal

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip Credit: Alamy
Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip Credit: Alamy

Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor believes two Liverpool players could end up costing the club Champions League qualification, as Jurgen Klopp continues to grapple with a defensive injury crisis.

The Reds have an injury-plagued campaign which has, in part, led to their struggles domestically as Klopp’s men sit down in ninth position in the Premier League table and are a whopping 10 points off the top four.

The absence of talismanic centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been particularly felt, even if the Netherlands star has not been at his brilliant best this campaign.

But with Ibrahima Konate now also on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, that leaves Joel Matip and Joe Gomez as first-choice.

And Agbonlahor insists injuries are not the only “problem” for Klopp. Indeed, he also singled out Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold for criticism.

As for Konate, the Frenchman is expected to be out for around three weeks. That means him potentially missing games against Wolves, Everton, and Newcastle and also possibly the first leg of the Champions Leafue last-16 clash with Real Madrid.

Defensive struggles to cost Reds

When asked if Matip and Gomez is a good enough partnership to propel the Reds up the table, Agbonlahor told Football Insider: “Not for me, no.

“Liverpool play Wolves next, and you can easily see a Wolves win with Van Dijk and Konate both out.

“It’s one problem for Liverpool, but it’s not just injuries. There’s a problem at Liverpool all over the pitch.

“Salah’s not firing, Alexander-Arnold looked angry after he came off against Brighton. Klopp will need to earn his money here.

“As much as they want to rebuild in the summer, these things could end their hopes of finishing in the top four.

“I think missing out on Champions League football could cost them the chance to get top players through the door.

“Bellingham won’t want to join a Europa League side.”

Liverpool are back in action on Saturday when they head to Molineux to face Wolves.

READ MORE: Talks over critical Liverpool deal nearing completion, with Klopp to secure signature that’ll make Salah grin

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