Liverpool are planning to reopen discussions with centre-back Dejan Lovren regarding a contract extension, but are also targeting another defender.
Lovren’s current deal runs until the end of the 2018/19 campaign, with the Reds looking to tie down one of their first-team regulars ahead of the summer.
The Croatia international, like Emre Can, has previously held talks with the club regarding extended terms, but these stalled last year.
But according to the Telegraph, these have now been picked up again, with Liverpool hoping to secure Lovren’s future as they look to build for success.
Lovren has made 23 appearances for the Reds so far this season, largely serving as one of Jurgen Klopp‘s first-choice centre-backs alongside Joel Matip.
However, this has been hampered by injury, with the 27-year-old missing the last six games following a serious knee problem.
Ragnar Klavan has taken his place at the back, and impressed, with there being no guarantee Lovren will return to the starting lineup for Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield.
But having these options available to him is what Klopp will require moving forward.
Liverpool are expected to qualify for European football for next season, and fighting on four fronts, Klopp will need further depth to his squad.
And as the Telegraph continue, this will see Klopp dip into the transfer market to add another centre-back to his ranks for 2017/18.
Beyond Lovren, Matip and Klavan, the German currently has Lucas Leiva serving as his fourth choice, while Joe Gomez‘s recovery from a long-term ACL injury has seen him return to the fold.
Whether Lucas will remain with the club beyond the summer remains to be seen, with reports from Turkey suggesting he had agreed a £2.2 million deal with Super Lig side Galatasaray.
Liverpool have already been linked with a host of centre-backs in the lead-up to the transfer window, including Burnley‘s Michael Keane and Southampton‘s Virgil van Dijk.
Keane recently admitted such speculation was “flattering,” and with the 24-year-old making his England debut during the March international break, it is clear he is following a positive trajectory.
If Lovren does extend his contract, it will be interesting to see whether he remains as Klopp’s first choice next to Matip.
It is certainly feasible, particularly given Lovren’s regular injury problems, to see him replaced, with the versatile former Southampton defender instead serving as cover.