Having their talismanic skipper sidelined for the foreseeable can never be regarded a good thing for Liverpool.

But if there's one team who has made a habit of extracting any sort of positive from an obvious setback, it's this Jurgen Klopp vintage.

The sight of Jordan Henderson limping off towards the end of the Champions League defeat at Atletico Madrid on Tuesday capped a disappointing evening for the European and world champions.

Klopp was cautiously optimistic over the captain's fitness in the immediate aftermath, and the updated bulletin that Henderson now faces around three weeks on sidelines was better news compared to hamstring issues for other notable Premier League figures in recent weeks.

Nevertheless, it represents an unwelcome blow, particularly with Henderson in such outstanding form.

Now the captain faces a race against time to be available for the Anfield return against Atletico on March 11.

But as one door closes, another opens.

And while opportunity knocks for the supporting cast of midfielders waiting in the wings for Liverpool, it could also help provide an answer to the question of how best to unlock the Spanish defence in the second leg.

Liverpool aren't the first team to struggle to break down Diego Simeone's well-organised troops. They won't be the last.

And if there's one area where they faltered it was in midfield, the trio of Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum - regarded by many the strongest triumvirate in the engine room - failing to produce a single key pass, although Henderson was close to equalising with one shot.

Henderson's absence means changes will be enforced during a spell that sees Monday's visit of West Ham United followed by a Premier League trip to Watford, the FA Cup fifth round tie at Chelsea and the home top-flight game against Bournemouth.

Klopp will most in any case likely rotate his resources during such a busy period.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson looks dejected during the Champions League clash at Atletico Madrid
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson looks dejected during the Champions League clash at Atletico Madrid

Essentially, the fixtures will now be an audition for who is best suited to taking the midfield slot against Atletico.

Even if Henderson regains fitness for the second leg, it's unlikely Klopp will go with the same three in the central area given their failure to prise open Simeone's rearguard.

More creativity is required.

The most obvious candidate in that respect is Naby Keita, the Guinean an unused substitute at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Keita was fitful when starting at Norwich City a few days earlier, but gave glimpses of the guile that will be required and, before his latest injury at the turn of the year, was finally beginning to consistently produce in terms of raw numbers.

Klopp knows what he'll get from James Milner, who has 11 assists in the Champions League over the last three seasons.

Adam Lallana can similarly be relied upon despite being absent from the bench in midweek, while there is the wildcard of youngster Curtis Jones who is edging ever nearer a first Premier League start.

And a change of formation could provide an opportunity for Takumi Minamino to gain much-needed minutes as he continues to acclimatise to Klopp's ways.

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Liverpool could be on the brink of that cherished first championship in 30 years by the time they start to roll their sleeves up and plot Champions League revenge against Atletico Madrid next month.

Yes, Henderson may unwittingly bolster their prospects by sitting out the preceding weeks.

Ultimately, though, it will depend on to what extent the supporting cast seize the chance now made available to them.