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Ilori Still Set for Loan as Liverpool Linked with Another Defender

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With mounting injuries there was speculation that Tiago Ilori's planned loan in January would be scuppered, but he's still set to head elsewhere before the month is out, with the club now reportedly seeking the signature of Senegalese defender Cheikou Kouyate.

Claudio Villa

With Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Agger suffering injury setbacks in relatively quick succession, Liverpool's defensive depth looked depleted, and we were very nearly set to exist in a reality in which Tiago Ilori existed outside of entrance tunnels and pre-match squad seats. Sakho's miraculous recovery meant that young Tiago is still destined to exist in the fringes of the living, however, and any first-team opportunities presented in the FA Cup can be all but eliminated.

Also, it means he can still go on loan, apparently, as James Pearce from The Liverpool Echo confirmed yesterday:

That makes plenty of sense given the complete lack of playing time the young defender's found since arriving at the end of the summer; he's featured for the U21s primarily, making the bench only recently in the FA Cup win over Fulham and twice earlier in the season against Sunderland and Crystal Palace. The club need to find him competitive minutes, especially given that the move to Merseyside has proven a step backward in that regard, and a loan for the remainder of the season would be in the best interest of all involved.

What's maybe less tethered to things happening in reality are the rumors that Liverpool are now battling Arsenal and a host of other Premier League clubs for the signature of Senegalese defender Cheikou Kouyate, who's been at Anderlecht since 2008 and began to draw interest after apparently impressing at the Olympics in the summer of 2012. At 6'4" and just 24 years old, he's an attractive prospect, but one that shouldn't really be entering the picture at the current time.

Liverpool's priorities are (or at least should be) clear for the January window--strengthen at fullback, another holding/defensive midfielder, someone adaptable in attack that can threaten from the wide areas. Possibly far-fetched, but all far more reasonable than going after another central defender. I know very little about Kouyate, but from what I've seen he's center-back all the way, and that's no

In the end it's probably all just standard transfer window fare, especially since Liverpool already have a younger, taller central defender set to return from injury shortly. Don't fight it.