Liverpool have “discussed” left-back signing – but deal hinges on Yasser Larouci

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Liverpool are weighing up whether to sign a new backup left-back in the next transfer window, with Jurgen Klopp facing a big decision over his faith in Yasser Larouci.

One of the Reds’ biggest priorities at the end of the season was highlighted in the absence of Andy Robertson for Sunday’s 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby.

With the Scot ruled out due to injury, James Milner filled in at left-back, only for a hamstring problem to force the veteran off before the end of the first half, with Joe Gomez introduced in his place.

It is a role Gomez has barely played under Klopp, if at all, and a day on from the five-year anniversary of his move to Liverpool, harkened back to his first games for the club during Brendan Rodgers’ reign.

Gomez provided a much-needed thrust up the left flank, but it is certainly not his best role and the 23-year-old should remain as a long-term option at centre-back.

Milner, too, is better elsewhere, which leaves Robertson as the only specialist left-back among Klopp’s senior ranks, and therefore signing a deputy could be one of the most pressing issues for the Reds ahead of 2020/21.

That is unless Larouci is trusted to fill in for the No. 26 on the admittedly rare occasion that he is unavailable—Robertson has played 7,801 of a possible 8,370 minutes in the past two seasons, or 93.2 percent.

According to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, Klopp and his staff “have discussed” the possibility of signing a new backup to Robertson.

But as Pearce attests, “to a large extent it depends on whether Klopp has sufficient faith in Larouci to step up next season.”

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 5, 2019: Liverpool's Yasser Larouci during the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Liverpool FC Under-19's and KRC Genk Under-19's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

There has been significantly less fanfare surrounding Larouci this season than, for example, Neco Williams—and that is largely due to the disparity in their exposure to the first-team squad.

While Williams has been a near-permanent fixture at Melwood this season, injuries and other developments have seen the left-back spend time with the seniors and the academy.

He has made just two appearances for the first team in 2019/20, both in the FA Cup, and is yet to be named in the matchday squad in the Premier League or Champions League.

But Larouci was a surprise presence in squad for pre-season, and would arguably have featured more heavily—and perhaps even in the campaign proper—were it not for a horrendous challenge from Sevilla’s Joris Gnagnon in Boston.

That has left the 19-year-old playing catch-up, and with Williams effectively cementing his spot on the bench as full-back cover, it may prove difficult breaking in.

DOHA, QATAR - Wednesday, December 18, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) celebrates with Andy Robertson after the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Semi-Final match between CF Monterrey and Liverpool FC at the Khalifa Stadium. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

However, that would be the issue for any incoming left-back, and therefore that poses the question: does Klopp keep faith in Larouci, with time on his side, or plump for a deputy to Robertson that is more immediately dependable?

Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka, eight months Larouci’s junior, has been mooted as a possible candidate, and it is likely that any call the manager makes would have a strong bearing on the future of his current No. 70.

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