Centre-backs, Andre and Solanke?! – Debating Liverpool’s January transfer plans

With injuries mounting up, Liverpool could use the January transfer market to replenish their squad. We discussed what could be on the horizon over the next month.

January is a traditionally tough time for teams, buying clubs especially, to do business. Indeed, Jurgen Klopp often states that he prefers to do business in the summer and not mid-season.

However, when he has of late, the transfers have often been statements of intent, with Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo all moving to Merseyside at the start of a calendar year.

Before Klopp, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho were all January additions that certainly showed the winter window can be very fruitful.

Here, Sam Millne (@sam_millne), David Lynch (@dmlynchlfc) and Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) discuss Liverpool’s upcoming January transfer window.


Which position do you think should be a priority?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Luis Díaz (R) celebrates with team-mate Cody Gakpo after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MILLNE: This is a tough one because the obvious answer in the summer was defensive midfield, and to some extent that is still the answer.

However, Luis Diaz‘s lack of form combined with Darwin Nunez still not quite reaching the levels we had hoped for have led many to want a proper star quality attacker to push Liverpool on to the title.

We are at the point where a big statement signing could win Liverpool another title, and those kinds of opportunities don’t come around every year.

LYNCH: I know midfield and defence are considered the biggest priority by most but, like Sam, I’d love to see a young forward added to the squad.

Diaz and Nunez haven’t quite scored at the level you’d hope for so far this season and there’s a huge call on Mohamed Salah‘s future coming up in the summer.

Getting ahead of that decision and adding more firepower could be the boost this squad needs to get over the line. You can get by in other areas of the pitch, but goals win you games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez waves to the supporters after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LUSBY: It’s hard to say. I actually think the squad is well-stocked in most areas and arguably the strongest that Klopp’s ever had when fully fit.

Another midfielder would make sense given Thiago is likely to leave, but I’d echo the calls for a new forward.

As it stands all three of Jota, Nunez and Cody Gakpo all look more comfortable on the left, where Diaz already plays, so another central striker could be required.


Realistically, is there anyone in particular you would like?

LYNCH: There have been links to Johan Bakayoko of PSV and, while I can’t personally vouch for whether he is good enough or not, someone of that profile would make sense to me if Liverpool were looking at forwards.

LUSBY: Victor Boniface would seem to fit the bill, while there is known interest in Maximilian Beier at Hoffenheim.

But how about using that buy-back clause for Dominic Solanke, if it’s still active?!

MILLNE: This is where the recruitment team earn their money! Basically I’d like Sadio Mane to de-age.

I wish I could say I watch enough of other teams to know exactly who would fit, but at the moment, the best wingers seem to be playing on the right, where we’ve already got Salah.


Do you think Liverpool will dip into the market?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LYNCH: Personally, I struggle to see it.

Andy Robertson is back soon to cover for the loss of Kostas Tsimikas, while there’s hope that Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic won’t be too much longer.

If that’s the case, the positions that many feel most need strengthening are pretty well covered until the summer.

MILLNE: I’d agree that it is difficult to see Liverpool spending lavishly in January, though we have been surprised before.

There are clearly funds there, as shown by the £115 million bid for Moises Caicedo, but unless there is a nailed-on, future replacement for Salah, I can’t see Liverpool spending the money.

LUSBY: I can’t see it at all. If anything happens in the January window, it will surely be outgoings.

Kaide Gordon could do with a loan, for example. The focus should really be on finalising new contracts for the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mo Salah.


Do we have enough in defence, with Matip’s injury?

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - Thursday, November 9, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E match-day 4 game between Toulouse FC and Liverpool FC at the Stadium de Toulouse. Toulouse won 3-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MILLNE: Without Jarell Quansah, the answer would be no. With Quansah, the answer is a resounding yes from me.

Playing next to Van Dijk obviously helps, but he has looked assured even in the Europa League games he has played without the captain.

Joe Gomez is there to play centre-back too should Ibrahima Konate, inevitably unfortunately, get injured.

LYNCH: It looks like Liverpool are convinced that Quansah is ready to step up in the absence of Matip and, on the basis of his performances, who could disagree?

LUSBY: Like the others say, it looks like Quansah’s here to stay in the first team and that’s great news.

Much depends on how Conor Bradley and, to a lesser extent, Luke Chambers and Calum Scanlon develop as backup full-backs, as that would have a knock-on effect on Gomez.

For me, Gomez looks better at right-back than centre-back, which could mean another centre-half is needed in the summer.


Liverpool were clearly interested in Andre but Endo has stepped up recently. Do you think that affects LFC’s thinking?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 27, 2023: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai (C) celebrates with team-mates Harvey Elliott (L) and Wataru Endo (R) after scoring the second goal during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LYNCH: I don’t believe Liverpool’s interest in Andre existed once they signed Wataru Endo.

It was madness to me that anyone thought they’d signed a holding midfielder, then decided he wasn’t good enough and needed replacing just two months later.

I believe Liverpool when they say they’re happy with what they have in midfield until the end of the season.

On a purely numbers basis, it’s hard to disagree given that Bajcetic and Thiago have barely played this season and haven’t yet been missed.

If they come back soon then surely midfield reinforcements can wait until the summer.

MILLNE: I’d agree in the sense that Klopp is unlikely to be desperate for a midfielder in January.

However, Endo is 30 years old and Andre is at the other end of his career.

I’m not saying Andre will sign, in fact I really can’t see it unfortunately, but there is scope for a player to possibly arrive in the summer.

2R121R5 Minas Gerais, Brazil: 10th May 2023: Estadio do Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil Serie A football, Minas Gerais, Brazil: Cruzeiro versus Fluminense; Andre of Fluminense, celebrates the goal from German Cano

LUSBY: Andre is a prime example of hysteria when it comes to transfers. How many of us had even seen him play before the Club World Cup this month?

Look at Joao Palhinha, too. So many seem convinced he’s the ultimate No. 6 for Liverpool, but there so little evidence that he’d actually fit.

I can see why Klopp would stick with the current group and perhaps add to it when Thiago leaves.There’s clearly a lot of faith in Bajcetic and right so.