You know that expression, “when it rains, it pours” - that’s probably what Jurgen Klopp is feeling like right now.
Not only has he lost arguably the best defender in the world for the rest of the season in Virgil van Dijk, but his centre-back partner Joe Gomez has just been ruled out for a similar amount of time as well.
Now reliant on Joel Matip, who is injury-prone himself, Fabinho, who is in fact a defensive midfielder, and two youngsters in Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, it seems almost inevitable that Liverpool will look to recruit a new centre-back when the transfer window opens in January.
But who should Liverpool swoop for? GIVEMESPORT have outlined seven mid-season signings to shore up Liverpool’s defensive ranks for the title run-in…
Matthijs De Ligt
Let’s start with an out-there suggestion.
Matthijs De Light only moved to Juventus last summer and having arrived for a massive fee, he’s clearly seen as a long-term investment.
But the Dutchman’s debut season was far from plain sailing and due to an injury of his own, he’s not actually featured at all so far this season.
It’s been argued that the Italian style of defending just doesn’t suit the former Ajax prodigy’s ball-playing nature, but that’s part and parcel of playing at the back for Liverpool so perhaps he’d be a lot better suited to life at Anfield.
Recreating part of the Netherlands’ backline with van Dijk at club level will have its natural advantages too. The only stumbling blocks are whether Juve would want to sell, and how much they’d actually want.
Burnley’s style of play may be completely different to Liverpool’s, but James Tarkowski comes with one obvious advantage - the fact his Burnley contract will be into its final 18 months when January comes around, and he’s just completely ruled out the prospect of signing another one.
Likewise, while the Clarets defender is decisively more old-school than the profile of centre-back Liverpool employ, he’s also an incredibly solid one - last season he averaged 5.2 aerials won and 5.3 clearances per match.
And perhaps there’s nothing wrong with having that kind of variation in Liverpool’s squad. Just look at Phillips’ recent Premier League debut; against teams like West Ham who will look to pump the ball into the box, Tarkowski could be a real asset.
At 27, now is definitely the time to buy.
It’s hard to remember a transfer window when Kalidou Koulibaly wasn’t linked with a big-money move to the Premier League.
Dubbed “The Wall” for his imperious physicality yet so impressive in his distribution that he was a fundamental cog of Maurizio Sarri’s possession-obsessed Napoli side, it’s not hard to see what all the fuss is about.
Also naturally quick, he certainly fits the profile for Liverpool’s high line. But at the age of 29, the Reds might understandably be reluctant to meet Napoli’s valuation of their star defender, which is believed to be around the £70m mark.
David Alaba’s contract situation is well-known, with Bayern Munich not intending to extend the 29-year-old’s deal beyond the end of the current season.
Recent reports suggest they won’t allow him to leave in January, but if Bayern are running away with the title and Liverpool make a solid enough offer, they might have a change of heart by the time new year comes around.
And there’s no question Alaba would be a phenomenal addition to what Liverpool already have. This is a player who has operated as a winger, a central midfielder, a full-back and a central defender throughout his career and excelled in practically every capacity.
He immediately adds a host of depth to the defensive side of Liverpool’s squad and as a two-time Champions League winner, Alaba comes with that winning mentality as well.
The only question is how much Liverpool will feel comfortable paying for a player who’s available for free in the summer.
Liverpool were hot on Ben White’s heels during the summer after an impressive Championship campaign with Leeds last season and while it would be an overstatement to suggest he’s been a revelation in the top flight this term, he’s not done too much wrong either.
Agile and incredibly comfortable on the ball, he looks tailormade for Liverpool’s high line, so their interest in him is certainly understandable.
But whether the 23-year-old is ready to come in and be part of an ongoing title defence remains to be seen, and Brighton were incredibly firm on their no-sale stance during the summer, so it would take a pretty big fee to convince them otherwise.
Premier League experience will be a huge asset for any mid-season Liverpool acquisition, especially under such circumstances which essentially oblige an incoming centre-back to hit the ground running.
Conor Coady’s certainly got that and he knows a thing or two about playing on Merseyside as well, having risen through the ranks of Liverpool’s academy before ending up at Wolves by way of Huddersfield.
The 27-year-old has got a fantastic long pass on him too, but there are some caveats to consider here. Wolves’ defensive structure is far deeper and utilises three centre-backs, so how would Coady fare in a completely different Liverpool system?
Under contract until 2025, it might cost Liverpool a little too much to find out.
When considering what makes the modern-day complete centre-back, Dayot Upamecano seems to possess all the necessary ingredients.
The RB Leipzig centre-back is incredibly aggressive and physical, often using these traits to win the ball high up the pitch in a style befitting of Klopp’s philosophy, but he’s also confident enough to build attacks from the back or even drive into midfield with the ball at his feet.
Throw in a highlight reel that includes some fantastic last-ditch stuff as well, and the 22-year-old’s reputation as the best young centre-back around is a worthy one.
Unfortunately, Upamecano signed a new contract during the summer, but it did include a release clause for the next off-season period. If Liverpool offer more than that in January, there’s a chance Leipzig might decide to sell ahead of schedule.News Now - Sport News