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 got whipped out by Jordan Pickford and is out probably till the last few games of the season with ruptured ACL. 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 the 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. So 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 his contract with Arsenal got terminated few days ago. His 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 left out of the 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 injury 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 his current physical condition is. 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 USA. He was part of the Switzerland team at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He’s already 35 but might be worth a contract for a couple of month to fill some voids.
4) Fikayo Tomori
After the arrival of Thiago Silva, the 24 year old defender was left out of the squad. 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 should be a cheap option. The question is would Bournemouth let one of their most loyal and trustable players in the 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 decided to include it. The Brazilian is not part of the plans of his manager. He made only 4 appearances since the beginning of the season so maybe a loan deal might be possible.
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? There is only couple of days left from the transfer window, but teams can sign free agents at any time. So we shall see Klopp’s decision very soon.