We’re now half-way into the new season and Liverpool’s title defense is not looking good so far. Since the beginning of the season, all their senior centre-backs got injured. Virgil Van Dijk tore his ACL after a nasty challenge by Jordan Pickford in mid-October and might come back just for the last few games of the season. Joe Gomez suffered a tendon injury to his left knee whilst away on international duty with England and underwent successful surgery on 11 November 2020 to correct the damage and is out for the rest of the season. Joel Matip has been suffering from muscle injuries throughout his whole Liverpool career so far. This left the team with converted to centre-back Fabinho and the youngsters Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Philips.
In recent games, Jurgen Klopp clearly showed that he doesn’t trust the two youngsters to fill in the void. Liverpool’s manager said that considering the current financial situation because of COVID-19 the team won’t be buying a new centre-back this winter. Here are some cheap choices to cover up the absentees till the end of the season:
1) Sokratis Papastathopolous
The Greek defender is a free agent since Arsenal terminated his contract a few days ago. He is still 32 and has worked with Klopp before. The pair worked together at Dortmund between 2013 and 2015. He’s got a lot of experience in the Premier league which might be very useful during the busy 2nd part of the season. The disadvantages are that he hasn’t featured in a competitive game this season. He was not part of Premier League and Europa League squads and only played in the EFL and Premier League 2.
2) Ezequiel Garai
The former Argentina international and World cup silver medalist is without a club since Valencia released him after suffering a cruciate ligament in the right knee. He has tons of experience at the highest level of football. During his career, he played for Real Madrid, Valencia, Benfica, Zenit, and has 32 caps for his country. His qualities were unquestionable, but no one knows what is his current physical condition. He’s worth a trial period at Liverpool, in my opinion.
3) Reto Ziegler
The Swiss international has played all across Europe in his long career. He played top-flight football in seven countries: Switzerland, England, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Germany, and the USA. He was part of the Switzerland team at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He’s already 35, but it might be worth a contract for a couple of months to fill some voids.
4) Fikayo Tomori
After the arrival of Thiago Silva, the 24-year-old defender lost his first-team status. Last season Tomori made 22 appearances and even scored 2 goals. So the Englishman might not be happy with the current situation. Shall Jurgen Klopp try and take advantage of the situation? Maybe a loan with the opportunity to buy in the summer might be an option. Will Lampard let one of his players strengthen the opposition? That’s a totally different question.
5) Steve Cook
Steve Cook joined Bournemouth in 2012 when they were playing League One football. He helped them reach the Premier League and stayed with them when they got relegated at the end of last season. His contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and he should be a cheap option. The question is would Bournemouth let one of their most loyal and trustable players in recent years leave when they’re fighting to go back to the Premier League.
6) Eder Militao
I read some rumors about this in the last couple of days, so I decided to include it. The Brazilian is not part of Zidane’s plan for the season. He made only four appearances since the beginning of the season, so maybe a loan deal might be good for both sides.
Will Jurgen Klopp go for a defender to finish the season or will he trust his youngsters and the converted midfielders to do the job and finish the season on a high? The winter transfer window is closing very soon, but teams can sign free agents at any time. We shall see Klopp’s decision very soon.