It’s back to Premier League matters for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s walking wounded entertain West Ham United next.
The Reds boss saw his already thinning central defensive options hit further by a hamstring injury to Fabinho this week.
The Brazil midfielder, who has been filling in for the stricken Virgil van Dijk, was sent for a scan on Wednesday and faces an as of yet undetermined spell on the sidelines.
“When someone has a muscle problem, it’s pretty rare the doctor calls me the next morning and says it’s a false alarm, all fine,” Klopp said about Fabinho’s injury.
With Joel Matip continuing to struggle for long-term fitness, Klopp has just Joe Gomez available to him as his one senior centre-back.
Fabinho was already playing out of position when the problem struck in the first half against FC Midtjylland.
Rhys Williams admirably stepped up the task alongside Gomez against the Danes and while he is likely to face tougher examinations in a Liverpool shirt, the 19-year-old can rightly be proud of his performance on Tuesday night.
Despite the very evident paucity of his options right now, Klopp was keen to put a brave face on proceedings after a third successive hard-fought win, referencing Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio as potential options at centre-back on Saturday evening.
“Rhys did really well,” Klopp said. “Now we have four days until West Ham and you will make a story about him.
“He is a talent, 19 years old and has more Champions League minutes than Premier League minutes.,
“He has now made two Champions League appearances and has won both. Promising.
“We also have Nat Phillips, he’s a centre-back. Billy ‘the kid’ too, he will train this week.”
It remains to be seen who or what Klopp chooses to select in defence for the visit from the Hammers, but there is a school of thought that sees captain Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum drop into centre-back.
Both midfielders have played there before for the Reds and could help Klopp out of a jam if Matip fails to make the cut, which seems likely at this stage.
It could require some creativity, but it won’t be a unique situation for either if they are given the nod at centre-half.
The other big question for Klopp is what he does with his midfield.
After successive games playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, largely down to a lack of fit and available central midfielders, does he now revert to his trusty 4-3-3?
Klopp’s attempts to blow both Sheffield United and Midtjylland away with a front four have fallen flat with both games perhaps tougher than anticipated.
Much will depend on the fitness of either Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita should one of Henderson or Wijnaldum move back into defence.
While Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi did little to enhance their reputation against the Danish champions, Xherdan Shaqiri was bright and inventive at times.
It was his well-weighted pass that enabled Trent Alexander-Arnold to set up Diogo Jota for the opening goal.
But if anyone is to break up the current front three on Saturday evening, it will be the in-form Jota, whose goal in the Champions League moves him on to three in total since signing from Wolves last month.
The issue for Klopp is who drops out in his place if he feels, with some justification, that Jota deserves to keep his place.