Four defenders Liverpool could target in January
They may need reinforcements at the back
Liverpool’s squad could be seriously tested over the next few weeks, with a number of injuries at the back reducing Jurgen Klopp’s options.
They’ll be without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for the foreseeable future, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to be out until December. The Reds are also sweating on the fitness of Andy Robertson for Sunday’s clash with league leaders Leicester City.
Klopp still has Joel Matip available in central defence and Fabinho should be back to fill in this weekend, but beyond that he only has the inexperienced Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio. Would any of them be able to step up for an extended period if required?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the club dipped into the transfer market in January to bolster their ranks at centre-back, and we’ve taken a look at four potential options:
Conor Coady came through the ranks at Liverpool, but he only made two first-team appearances before leaving for Huddersfield Town. Now Wolves club captain, he’s excelling at the heart of a three-man defence. He’s also impressed for England this season too.
His searching balls to the flanks are a key feature of Wolves’ gameplan, helping them to counter at speed. However, he tends to sweep up danger in behind, while Liverpool’s defenders play very high up the pitch. He’s also rarely played as part of a back four in recent years.
It would be a great story if Coady were to return to his hometown club, but is he the right fit?
Ben White may looks set to have a very exciting future, though he could potentially play a key role for Liverpool right now.
He excelled on loan at Leeds United last term, playing in all 46 games on their way to the Championship title. Marcelo Bielsa was very keen to sign White on a permanent basis, but Brighton & Hove Albion didn’t want to let him go.
It’s easy to see why the Seagulls were keen to keep him – he’s superb on the ball, reads the game well and will only get better. Shining for a Bielsa team suggests he’d be able to cope with playing in Klopp’s high line too.
Kalidou Koulibaly has been one of the best defenders on the continent for some time now, but prospective suitors have been put off by Napoli’s price tag.
Reports suggest that the Senegal international could be available for £63m in January. If Liverpool were to splash out, they’d be getting a real leader at the back, who doesn’t always get the credit he deserves for his work on the ball either.
You’d expect him to be able to come in and make an immediate impact with his quality and experience. And looking ahead to next season, a duo of Koulibably and Van Dijk would be the stuff of nightmares for top-flight forwards.
One of the highest-rated young talents around, Dayot Upamecano showed he can cut it at the top level with a great display for RB Leipzig in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals against Atletico Madrid.
Leipzig often employ an aggressive pressing game under Julian Nagelsmann – Upamecano’s speed and awareness should allow him to slot into Klopp’s style at Liverpool.
Similar to White, the France international has a huge upside and could continue to improve alongside Van Dijk if he were to move to Merseyside.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.