Jordan Henderson delivers a glowing appraisal of Liverpool's strength in depth at centre-back in his matchday programme notes today.
Each of the Reds’ five senior players in the position were used as Jürgen Klopp oversaw victories against Manchester United and Preston North End in the past week.
Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate combined in the 5-0 triumph at Old Trafford, while Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Nathaniel Phillips were then involved in the progress to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
The current options available to the manager stand in contrast to the challenges faced in central defence for much of last season – a positive Henderson is keen to emphasise.
“It was around autumn last year that we started to wonder who would be available to play centre-back for us as injuries began to hit,” the captain writes ahead of the visit of Brighton & Hove Albion to Anfield.
“This time around, the gaffer has the opposite problem – he has to decide which of our outstanding centre-backs he will pick for any particular game.
“Without even asking him, I know which ‘problem’ he would prefer to have and so will everyone else who knows anything about football, but this definitely doesn’t mean it is suddenly easy for him.
“Yes, having the kind of strength in depth we have in that position is undoubtedly brilliant for us, especially after what happened last season, but leaving any of our centre-backs out when they’re fit and available must be incredibly difficult because they all have so much to offer.
“Last weekend, Virgil and Ibou got the nod and kept a clean sheet at a venue that has always been one of the most testing for us. Before then, Joel had once again proven his worth and to such an extent that he was finally being appreciated externally in a way that we always have done internally.
“Joe Gomez is getting stronger every day after a really bad injury and when called upon this season has shown that his own incredibly high standards haven’t dropped.
“Then we have Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams. Rhys is on loan at Swansea City this season so can’t play for us, but no-one at Liverpool has forgotten that Nat and himself helped lay the platform for so much of what is happening during the current campaign.
“Without their impact at the end of last season, it is doubtful that we would have even qualified for the Champions League, so their value has long since been established.
“Playing in front of these lads, I’m better placed than many to appreciate their quality and right now I think I can safely say that in my time at Liverpool we haven’t had a better crop of centre-backs.
“Our attack is getting a lot of attention right now – and rightly so because their numbers are off the scale – but if last season taught us anything it is surely that we need a solid basis to work from. We have that right now and long may it continue.
“What happened to Virg, Joel and Joe last season still feels a bit surreal. We did our very best to cope without them and not one of us made any excuses, but now that we’re in a position of strength I think the difference between the two situations and the different ways that they impact on the rest of the team is staring us in the face.
“That’s why I’m hoping that the lads who are doing such a brilliant job for us now get the credit that they deserve. As captain, it is brilliant knowing that whichever of them plays won’t just do a job for us, they will excel in that job and this is because the standards they set for themselves as individuals are bringing out the best in one another.
“I’m not petty enough to point out that some of our biggest critics from last season should take note of the difference, but it stands to reason that any team will be better if its centre-backs are fit and available.
“One thing I can definitely say is the team is undoubtedly better and stronger without the gaffer having to play me there!”