Former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson spoke to Express Sport recently about his hopes for the January transfer window. He addressed the injury crisis in defense specifically, considering that Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both out of action with serious injuries.
Speaking of Liverpool’s need to bring in another centre-back, he said, “Yeah I said that Liverpool needed to sign someone as soon as Van Dijk had got injured.
“I knew Fabinho could step in, I’ve seen him play, and as a defender you see people’s awareness.
“I look at mistakes you make as a defender and his mistakes are few and far between, that’s what makes him a good player to play at the back.
“But I think he’s too good a holding-midfield player, one of the best in Europe, so we need another centre-back, we really do.”
He thinks that the club’s management will have a tough challenge considering the stature of Van Dijk, and Gomez’s recent rise to prominence. He said, “I think Klopp and Michael Edwards are very shrewd in what they bring in.
“They do a lot of the due-diligence on players, attitude-wise, and rightly so, I suppose all other clubs do.
“But in the recent past we’ve had a lot of success with our players so is there one or two out there that we could bring in?
“Is there an older one which would cost you a small amount of money? But would get you by for a couple of years, two or three-year contract.
“Or do you go for a younger one who is at the top of his game and would cost a lot of money, and would expect to play every week? So it’s a balancing act of where you go for a centre-back.”
But Thompson has one such player in mind - Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig’s 22-year old French centre-back.
“The boy at Leipzig that we’re going to be playing against, Upamecano, I know he had a bit of a torrid time at Old Trafford but I do like him.
“I reckon he will cost a lot and he will want to be playing.”
Upamecano has already been linked with Liverpool multiple times this year, having played an impressive role in Leipzig’s backline for the past four years. He is currently valued at around £54m and his contract runs out in 2023.