You didn’t have to be a professional football manager to realize that Liverpool needed to sign at least one central defender in the summer transfer window. But, although Jürgen Klopp seemed to be eying up a number of potential candidates for the job of strengthening at the back, no significant signings were made. This has had a huge impact on the start of the Reds’ campaign, and surely now they must bring someone in when the transfer market opens again in January. Who would be the best man, or men, for the job?
At least one central defender is an absolute necessity, and with Joel Matip frequently sidelined through injury Klopp should arguably seek two new players. Dejan Lovren has proved time after time that he is too much of a liability at the back, and Reds fans would be happy to see the back of the former Southampton man. The Croatian has been known to make some horrific mistakes in the past, and in the recent 4-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, he was directly responsible for the first two Spurs goals within 12 minutes of the opening whistle. Klopp ended up hooking Lovren after 31 minutes, signifying that he had completely lost faith in the player for that match.
After 15 Premier League games this season, Liverpool had conceded 19 goals. In comparison, first-place Manchester City had let in ten in the same amount of time, while second-place Manchester United had been breached on nine occasions. That left the Reds trailing the league leaders by 14 points prior to the so-called friendly derby on match day 16, and as such, football tips sites have them as rank outsiders at around 40/1 to lift the title.
There is a good chance that Liverpool could have been up there in the mix with the Manchester clubs if they had a reliable defence, and fans will be crying out for new additions after Christmas. In the summer, the main target for the Anfield club was Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk, but this never came to fruition due to alleged illegal tapping up of the player. However, it seems as though Klopp may have been given the green light to try again. Liverpool would have to stump up a reported £70 million for the Dutchman, though. This whopping fee may lead the club to look elsewhere, but it could all depend on what other transfer activity happens in the window. If, for instance, Philippe Coutinho was to make a big money move to Barcelona, Liverpool would have plenty of cash to spend.
If Klopp can’t get his hands on Van Dijk, there are other Premier League stalwarts who may be keen to make the switch to Merseyside. Burnley’s Ben Mee and James Tarkowski have both been exceptional this season, and would come much cheaper than the Southampton centre-back. If Liverpool once again fail to acquire a capable defender in the New Year, they will surely be at risk of slipping out of the top four.