Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a problem convincing any new centre-back that they will be regularly involved next season when Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are back to full fitness, says Fabrizio Romano. The Reds have no fit senior central defender at the moment due to injuries but currently have no plans to recruit fresh talent.
Van Dijk and Gomez are unlikely to play again this season due to knee injuries while Joel Matip is currently sidelined with a muscle problem.
That leaves defensive midfielder Fabinho as Klopp’s most dependable stand-in centre-half while the inexperienced duo of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have been trusted to step up alongside the Brazilian.
The pair have fared well on the odd occasion they have come into the team but given Matip has endured a history of fitness problems throughout his five years at Anfield, there are calls for Klopp to sign a new defender.
Liverpool are looking to defend their Premier League title and also improve on last season’s Champions League campaign, in which they suffered elimination in the first knockout round, and can ill afford the kind of mistake from young defenders in big matches that Williams made in the FA Cup win over Aston Villa as Louie Barry scored.
But transfer expert Romano insists it is difficult for the Merseyside club to convince any targets that they will be as important to the team next season when Van Dijk and Gomez are fit again, with Matip and Fabinho both also back-ups to the pair.
“So Jurgen Klopp said, I think is being honest and it’s not usual for a manager but he has been honest,” Romano told Give Me Sport.
“Just because they will like a centre back, for sure, they need a centre back, as you say because of many injuries, but you know, a lot of players are like worried (thinking) ‘I’m joining Liverpool, I go there for two months, I play, then Van Dijk is back.
“‘Stars are back, like Matip and other players, Joe Gomez, and I’m not playing, I’m on the bench for the next season’ and everything.”
Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move this month for Schalke’s Ozan Kabak or Sven Botman of Lille.
Turkey international Kabak and Dutchman Botman, both 20, appear the right kind of profile for this Liverpool team, which likes to play with a high-line.
That therefore demands a centre-half with speed and mobility and who is strong in one-on-one duels, but Romano says moves have not been made for either, though they have been watched.
He added: “For sure, Kabak has been scouted also Botman. About Botman, we heard a lot of talks about possible medicals and something but it’s absolutely not true at the moment.
“For sure, Liverpool appreciate the player but they have not done anything with the manager, the player the agent or with the club, with Lille in this case.”
Liverpool boss Klopp said recently of their plans for the January window: “I cannot say definitely we won’t bring any in. But it’s just not likely because of the situation in the world.
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“We should not forget the situation is tough one for all people and for football clubs as well, there might be football clubs with no financial problems but this club always was and always will be – with these owners – very responsible with things we do.
“If the world was in a normal place and everything was fine, we had won the league and recently won the Champions League and the club was in the best possible situation and then you have three senior centre-halves plus Fabinho and kids but the three senior centre-halves get injured, is that a situation you’d usually do something?
“Yes, definitely. But we are not in that situation. I don’t know if something will happen or not.
“We maybe could do something, but it would be a short term solution and we don’t want that as it doesn’t help really, so we have to deal with the situation as we have so far and we have to get through this.
“It’s not the best moment for the planet, so why should it be for football clubs?”