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Klopp Talk: Liverpool Have No Plans to Buy Defensive Specialist

The Liverpool manager says he isn’t planning on signing a specialist defensive midfielder this summer.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Before his injury, Jordan Henderson had established himself as first choice in the six, the nominal defensive, holding midfielder in Jürgen Klopp's side. After his injury, Emre Can took on the role. Neither player would be called a defensive specialist by most, and if Lucas Leiva leaves this summer the club will have no such player.

Will they bring one in, then? That's what many fans are likely wondering, and it's what reporters wanted to know at Klopp's post-match press conference following Wednesday's 3-0 friendly victory over Sydney FC today. And the short answer is that no, there are no plans to bring in a specialist defensive midfielder.

"On second balls after set-pieces, another defensive midfielder would not really be around so it does not help a lot," was Klopp's response, highlighting his side's major defensive failing in 2016-17 as being in dead-ball situations and suggesting that he plans to continue with a playmaking single-pivot midfield next season.

"It's all about organisation. We already did much better in the last few games and improved around set-pieces a lot. Simon [Mignolet] did a wonderful job, especially in the second half of the season. The good thing is now we know our mistakes, we know our weaknesses, so we will work on it 100% you can be sure."

Liverpool's top midfield target this summer is Red Bull Leipzig's Naby Keita, a player who like Henderson and Can is able to play at the base of midfield but who is primarily a box-to-box player. If he arrives it will mean more flexibility for Klopp, something that seems to be key to the side he is attempting to build at Liverpool.

Versatility and not specialty appears to be the focus, and a midfield destroyer simply doesn't fit into those plans. As to who will arrive to further build on Klopp's vision at Anfield, the manager is hoping that all his key signings will be done by the time pre-season kicks off, though he isn't going to make any promises.

"The best scenario is that you have them for the start of pre-season but I'm not sure if it will happen," he noted. "It's different with all different players so we will see. I would love to have them in as soon as possible but we will see."

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