Jurgen Klopp discusses center-back transfer plans after Joel Matip injury
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is concerned the ankle injury suffered by Joel Matip in Thursday night’s 3-1 win over Tottenham is “serious” but admitted the Reds are still unlikely to move to a new center-back ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline due to a lack of options in the market.
Liverpool were forced to make do without starting center-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez due to long-term knee injuries. Fabinho has been at the back for most of the season, but he too was missing on Thursday due to a minor muscle complaint.
Matip, who has had his own fitness issues all season, started against Spurs alongside Jordan Henderson at the back. The former Schalke star was Liverpool’s last recognized senior center-back but had to be pulled at half-time and was replaced by Nat Phillips.
Club staff and fans nervously await a verdict on suspicious ankle ligament injuries.
If Matip is to be sidelined for several weeks, that leaves 23-year-old Nathaniel Phillips, who had only played once for Liverpool before this season and was due to spend the campaign on loan in the league, and 19 – old Rhys Williams, who was on loan in the sixth tier of English football last season, as the only specialist center-backs available for Klopp.
Dejan Lovren also hasn’t been substituted, so it’s not that Klopp doesn’t want to bring in another center-back to ease the issue. Still, with slim caps on the market, Liverpool will struggle to find one of sufficient quality at an acceptable price and now appear likely to continue without.
“If you have a center-half available at a reasonable price and one with the quality we need, then send me a message,” Klopp said. BT Sport after seeing his team beat Tottenham 3-1.
“We thought [about making signings] and we think all the time, but it’s about doing the right thing. We have to find the right player. It’s amazing what’s going on on the defensive line. “
“It’s not just about bringing in a body. Nat and Rhys have done so well. The situation is incredibly strange. We will see what we do but this [injury] did not help. It sounds like something serious.
90 mins had previously revealed that Liverpool were not against signing a center-back this month and had a flexible stance on the matter. But any goal has to make financial sense, underlined now by what Klopp said about a “reasonable price”.
Liverpool view the situation from a long-term perspective as they contemplate a future without Van Dijk, who turns 30 in July and heads to the final stage of his career. Athletic’s David Ornstein has also previously said that they are all geared towards summer and that is unlikely to change even with a string of poor results, which has happened.
Overall, Liverpool have plans to sign another center-back since Lovren was sold to Zenit Saint Petersburg last summer and the scouts followed Ozan Kabak from Schalke, Pau Torres from Villarreal, Mykola Matvienko from Shakhtar Donetsk, Jules Kounde from Seville and RB Leipzig. Dayot Upamecano since then, as they assess potential options.
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