Despite suffering the loss of Virgil van Dijk and eventual replacement Fabinho, Liverpool are showing no signs of struggling without these key players. The Reds have deployed the likes of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to plug the leaks, which is proving to be effective so far.
But that’s not to say the reigning English champions are out of the woods. They must be proactive going into the January window to avoid any further injuries rocking their season. Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland feels that a new centre-back signing is “definitely now” on the cards for the Reds.
A centre-back signing is on the cards for Liverpool
“I would be amazed if they didn’t already have a target,” the Colne goalkeeping coach told soccer FanCast. “I think we needed someone anyway to be honest. Obviously [Dejan] Lovren went and he played a lot of games for Liverpool and did really well.
“He lost favour towards the end but I do think we needed someone anyway, and definitely so now.”
Indeed, the business done on Lovren over the summer was a great haul for the club, who pocketed just shy of £11million. But with no replacement coming in, it’s a decision that has come to bite Liverpool where it hurts. January’s priority will undoubtedly be someone who can partner Joe Gomez in defence, allowing Fabinho to return to midfield once he is back to full fitness.
“Yes, the players score the goals which wins your game but you only win games if you’re keeping clean sheets,” Kirkland continued. “And the back unit is vital. I know they’ll be looking at players and they’ll already have targets.”
Despite the fact Liverpool continue to show their unwavering form, bolstering their backline will improve their chances of winning a second Premier League title. A chance many thought had been thwarted through van Dijk’s ACL injury.
The Dutchman could be set to miss the rest of the season and Joel Matip’s injure proneness isn’t something Jurgen Klopp will feel he can rely on. Diogo Jota has proven that he is more than a good enough backup for the front three, which gives the club the freedom to put all their focus on a new centre-back.
Potential centre-back options for Klopp
The Merseysiders have been linked with a number of defenders ahead of the winter window, with names including David Alaba, Conor Coady and Ozan Kabak cropping up regularly.
Alaba in particular is an attractive target due to the fact he will be available for pre-contract negotiations in January. Arriving at Anfield on a free transfer will be music to FSG’s ears, but a recent revelation of his £400,000 per week wage demand could put the club off.
Even former target Kalidou Koulibaly has reappeared on the radar, despite Napoli demanding a mammoth £65million for his services.
Whatever option Klopp chooses will be a well-thought out decision. There will be players queuing up to join the Premier League champions so the list of targets isn’t a short one, but any addition will be a positive one amid Liverpool’s current injury crisis.
In other news, Liverpool right not to pursue summer move for disappointing Kai Havertz…
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