Jurgen Klopp can help Liverpool's Tiago Ilori realise his vast potential

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Such was the severity of Liverpool's injury crisis earlier this month, Jurgen Klopp was forced to field a back four against Exeter in the FA Cup where Jose Enrique was the biggest name to feature - at centre-back.

As a result of the Reds' lack of defensive cover, Klopp was also forced to recall loanee Tiago Ilori from lowly Aston Villa to fill the void.

The Portuguese started against Exeter at St James' Park and despite conceding twice performed admirably in what was his first appearance.


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Liverpool's younger stars showed excellent grit and determination to twice come back from behind to draw 2-2, and once again in their 3-0 win at Anfield over Paul Tisdale's side in the replay, yet it was the commanding, intimidating Ilori who arguably shone most.

Standing at a daunting 6 ft. 3, the 22-year-old appears to be the ideal defender to inherit Klopp's brand of football.

During his time at the Westfalenstadion, Klopp often opted for a defensive partnership of Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic - two tall, powerful and technically gifted centre-backs.

The German and Serbian forged a resilient defensive line which brought much success, including two consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2013 and 2014.

And it seems that, in Ilori, Klopp has a centre-back of the same ilk as his two former central defenders.

Strong in the tackle and an aerial presence, Ilori has all the traits required to be a success in the Premier League. Improvements must be made, of course, but that's part and parcel of an up-and-coming defender.

At just 22, the Portuguese starlet has ample time to realise his potential and could do so under Klopp, who's famed for nurturing young talent into Europe's finest.

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