Liverpool left-back to return against Fulham as 20-year-old poised for just second start

Liverpool prepare to face Fulham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg and Owen Beck is set to be in the squad.
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It was a decision made on a positional crisis caused by two freak injuries.

The fact that Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas are sidelined simultaneously is bizarre enough. But with the left-back duo having a dislocated shoulder and broken collarbone respectively, Liverpool were left short in the department.

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To his credit, Joe Gomez has been magnificent covering in the role. The 26-year-old has revived his Reds career, having been Virgil van Dijk's regular centre-back partner in the 2019-20 season before suffering a serious knee injury the following campaign.

But more depth was required. Luke Chambers is an option, while Conor Bradley is capable of operating on the left-hand side of defence. Yet Liverpool had a recognised option thriving in senior football. Owen Beck enjoyed a superb first half of the campaign on loan at Dundee. The 21-year-old recorded two goals and two assists in 20 appearances and swiftly made himself a fans' favourite.

Jurgen Klopp may not have been the most popular person when deciding to cut Beck's time at Dundee short. He was recalled to provide cover for Liverpool.

On the decision, Klopp said: “So, we always saw and were pretty positive about Owen but then he had two really difficult loan spells, which was a surprise that it didn’t work out because of what we thought about Owen, but that’s how it is, especially with young boys when you send them away from home and stuff like this.

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“Plenty of things can happen there and it always needs to fit really well – it must be the right manager, must be the right team, if you have another left-back there and he has experience… there are so many things [that] can make a loan spell not really happening.”

Beck has made two senior appearances for Liverpool - both as a substitute in the Carabao Cup. There was every chance he could have played some part in last Sunday's FA Cup third-round victory at Arsenal. However, a suspension that had not been served, having picked up two bookings in the Scottish League Cup, ruled him out of the Emirates Stadium encounter.

But there is every opportunity that Beck will be on the bench when Liverpool face Fulham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg tonight. With the Reds having their winter break from the Premier League at the weekend, it means that Gomez is to continue to feature.

What's more, with Trent Alexander-Arnold suffering a knee injury and sidelined for three weeks, Klopp won't want to shuffle his defence too much. Another youngster in 20-year-old Bradley is set to deputise in what will be just his second start this season following a back injury. Still, a place in the squad for Beck beckons.