Five emergency defensive signings to lift Liverpool in January
Liverpool’s defence has crumbled on one too many occasions this campaign, with a spate of individual errors and lack of team organisation seeing them 15 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Now out of the Champions League after failing to shut out Basel, Brendan Rodgers is heavily linked with making a host of winter window signings, although his current team are still 11/4 for a top four finish.
Here, we run the rule over rumoured Reds recruits and whether they have what it takes to repair Liverpool’s rickety rearguard.
Asmir Begovic (Stoke City)
Tipped to join a top club for some time, Stoke’s stopper has seen himself priced out of potential big moves before. However, the Bosnia custodian is right to be prized highly by the Potters after protecting the posts at Britannia Stadium with aplomb and consistency.
The Reds just can’t seem to stop conceding, and are rumoured to be ready to swoop for Begovic in the hopes he will plug their porous backline.
Begovic is not one to be bullied and, after Simon Mignolet slipped up again against Basel, Rodgers would do well to land the commanding keeper and bring authority and organisation to his squad.
Timo Horn (Cologne)
Germany Under-21 international Horn has still to earn a senior cap, but is one of the Bundesliga’s most highly-rated prospects.
The 6ft 4in stopper would certainly add increased aerial presence to Anfield outfit but, at just 21 years old, perhaps a more seasoned option would benefit Rodgers’ backline, rather than potential.
If Liverpool do want to lure the young talent to the Premier League, they will have to move quickly, with the starlet rumoured to be on the verge of signing a new contract with boyhood club Cologne.
As an alternative, Chelsea legend Petr Cech has also been mooted for a move after falling behind Thibaut Cortouis in the pecking order, but would the veteran really cross the north-south divide?
Maxi Pereira (Benfica)
A surprise link with Liverpool, Uruguay international Pereira is about to enter the last six months of his contract with Benfica.
The Reds could reportedly baulk at his £4m asking price, but are keen to secure a replacement for Glen Johnson, whose deal also expires this summer.
Liverpool apparently have Barcelona full back Martin Montoya on their radar but the La Masia academy product could spark a bidding war the Reds may not be able to win.
With Javi Manquillo only on loan, it may be prudent for Rodgers to invest in 30-year-old Pereira as back up.
Winston Reid (West Ham United)
New Zealand centre half Reid is reportedly unwilling to pen a new deal at Upton Park and could be available at a cut-price fee this winter.
One of the best bargains likely to be available in the January sales, Reid has been one of the stars in Sam Allardyce’s impressive side.
The composed Kiwi is more than willing to put himself on the line and is just the type of no-nonsense defender Rodgers requires.
Versatile Vertonghen would be an ambitious signing by Liverpool, and the Reds would have to be prepared to fork out a substantial fee for the Spurs star.
The northwest giants may feel shy about dipping into their wallets for another expensive defensive addition after summer singing Dejan Lovren has struggled to settle.
Comfortable on the ball and imperious on his day, the Belgium international could be a sensation for the Merseyside men. However, brilliant performances like his showing against Everton are not always forthcoming.
Liverpool, 12/1 to win the Europa League, need authority, so perhaps they should look further afield for a more bullish backline leader. Their poor from, however, puts them in a weak bargaining position for the cream of the crop.