Liverpool fans were forced to watch yet another center-back limp off of the pitch on Sunday. This time, it was the injury-prone Joel Matip who went down with a groin injury in the second half. Matip is scheduled for a scan later today, but based on his reaction as it happened, chances are that Klopp will be without him for a while.
That means right now, and for the foreseeable future, the only center-back options available are Fabinho, Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips. Of course, Klopp could get creative and put James Milner or Andy Robertson there, but it’s a tough spot that they’re in right now.
With the new year only a few days away — and the opening of the January transfer window with it — attention has gone to whether Klopp will bring in any reinforcements to help cover the second half of the season. Don’t get too excited though, if rumors are to be believed, the boss has no interest in panic buying during this upcoming window.
With so much talent already on the books, it’s understandable that they may not want to invest in a long-term solution for a short-term problem. The middle ground would be a getting a player on loan, the way they did in Klopp’s first season with Steven Caulker. Klopp faced a similar center-back shortage then, having lost both Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel to injury. However, Caulker only made four appearances for the club before the end of the season.
The move was more to plan for a worst case scenario where his remaining two players, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure, also became injured. And if you are reading the names of these players and marveling over the incredible upgrade in quality that this team has seen since Klopp’s arrival, you are not the only one.
We know that Klopp has very specific requirements for all of his players, but none moreso than his defenders. Williams and Phillips have trained with the academy, where they focus on churning out Klopp-ready youngsters. The boss is unlikely to want to invest money or manpower into a player whose skills he doesn’t believe in, not when he has two of the best players in the world at their positions returning next season.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that other clubs will know that Liverpool are in a bind at the moment. And since everyone is looking for cash because of the pandemic, clubs will be looking to wring every penny out of the Liverpool in exchange for a deal.
But if Liverpool don’t take advantage of the January transfer window and Matip’s injury is long term, Fabinho gets hurt, or both, it will be seen as a colossal error in judgment.
What do you think? Should the transfer committee shell out the cash for another defender or stick it out with the choices they have available to them?