The club haven’t yet revealed the full extent of Martin Skrtel’s injury suffered against Watford, but according to reports the Slovak defender damaged his hamstring. And he could now be set for three months on the sidelines. With Dejan Lovren likely out until the new year, it leaves Liverpool with something of an injury crisis at centre half for the final weeks of 2015.
Mamadou Sakho, who looked rusty against Watford and had perhaps his worst game for the club, will be called on to get back up to match speed quickly. Who he will be partnered with is less certain given injuries to Skrtel, Lovren, and Joe Gomez. Veteran defender Kolo Toure could be in line for a recall, but in recent weeks Jürgen Klopp has also experimented with Lucas and Emre Can dropping into the back line.
Toure showed earlier in the year that at this stage in his career he isn’t a player who can be counted on to run for 90 minutes, which could make for a difficult decision for Klopp over whether to play the natural centre half or shift back a midfielder from the opening whistle. If Skrtel’s injury is as bad as feared, it could also force the club to move quickly for a centre half when the transfer window opens.
Liverpool have been heavily linked with Schalke’s Joel Matip in recent weeks, though the suggestion has been that they had been looking to sign him on a pre-contract agreement. Getting Schalke to let him go before his contract expires in the summer, at least according to reports in Germany, could prove difficult. There have also been rumours of interest in Dortmund defender Neven Subotic.
Subotic was a long-time favourite of Klopp’s—the manager brought him to Dortmund from Mainz in 2008—and the 27-year-old has found himself out of favour this season and is looking for a move. Rumours have had him available for less than £5M, and given Matip’s soon to expire contract, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a similar fee would turn out to be enough to get Schalke to let their defender go for similar.
Whether Liverpool go for either in January is far from certain, but it appears increasingly likely centre half will be a priority, and given the numerous well-sourced rumours linking the two in recent weeks, at least one of Matip or Subotic arriving shortly after the transfer window opens would surprise nobody.