Why Liverpool won’t sign a centre-back this January

Liverpool are not expected to sig a new centre-back in January, despite Jurgen Klopp suffering a shortage in that area at present.

The Reds are affected by injuries at the back at just the wrong time.

Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are both ruled out until mid-to-late January, having suffered a fractured leg and a fractured collarbone, respectively.

It leaves Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren as Klopp’s only available senior centre-backs, with the latter having a history of persistent injury issues in his last three seasons.

Despite there being worries about a lack of defensive cover, The Mirror‘s David Maddock has told The Redmen TV that he doesn’t expect any incomings next month, explaining sound logic for such reasoning.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, December 10, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“They’ve got four top class centre-halves and (Joe) Gomez will probably be back before January, or certainly the first week in January,” explained Maddock.

“Even (Joel) Matip will be back by the end of January.”

Indeed, Liverpool would need to sign a new centre-back right as the January transfer window opens, but as we know, Klopp doesn’t like to bring in a new player immediately.

And a fortnight later he’d have at least Gomez back available anyway.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Maddock also tips youngster Nat Phillips to get a chance: “When he (Jurgen Klopp) let (Ragnar) Klavan go it was for a reason, because they rate (Nathaniel) Phillips really highly.

“They need to give space to the fifth centre-half, so if you buy someone in January as fifth-choice, you can’t then sell him in the summer.

“He would stay, which means next season you’ve got five centre-halves and the young player is sixth-choice and never gets a game, or even get on the bench in the League Cup.

“For the sake of possibly a week where you don’t have a third centre-half, it’s not worth it.

Maddock speaks sense about the situation, with Liverpool’s shortage at the back not quite as drastic as some are fearing.

The next three weeks or so will, though, be a big challenge, with a lot riding on Van Dijk and Lovren staying injury-free.

Fabinho is capable of filling in at centre-back if required, with Gini Wijnaldum even playing in a back-three at Brighton last season.

Bringing in a new defender would feel like a panic buy, especially with youngster Nathaniel Phillips thought of so highly at Liverpool, as well as Conor Masterson.

Update: Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Klopp said that signing a defender in January was “not really likely.”

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