Liverpool are back to winning ways after the victory at Tottenham on Thursday – but at a cost yet again with defensive injuries.
Joel Matip was replaced at half time with what was described by Jurgen Klopp as “serious”.
The Cameroonian defender has been plagued by injuries in a season in which Liverpool have been decimated in central defence.
There is growing frustration around the lack of transfer activity for a central defender in January.
Given Matip’s injury, the long term time frames for Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, and the pressures of the Premier League and Champions League – it is imperative Liverpool find a solution quickly.
Here we examine FIVE realistic targets Liverpool could sign with only days left in the transfer window.
Nevan Subotic – Free Agent
- Image Courtesy of: Wuestenigel
This may be a transfer of convenience but that doesn’t mean that it wont work. This would be a stopgap for sure, but the 32 year old Serbian is experienced and would be able to plug that glaring hole in Liverpool’s defence for six months.
He has the existing relationship with the Liverpool manager having spent ten years of his career at Borussia Dortmund and has always read the game well.
He doesn’t have the best pace which may be exposed on the counter attack, but on a free transfer the risk/reward is appealing particularly given the financial constraints of the pandemic.
In the last three years Nevan Subotic has had spells with Saint Etienne, Union Berlin and most recently in Turkey with Denizlispor.
Sven Botman – LOSC Lille
Sven Botman is the name that has been repeatedly linked and he appears to tick nearly every box both sporting director Michael Edwards and Klopp look for in transfers. He is 21 with room to develop, represents excellent value and has been pivotal in the backline for Lille that sees them sat second in Ligue 1 behind PSG.
He is strong in the tackle and one of the most aerially dominant defenders in France standing at 6”4. Such presence will boost Liverpool’s ability to deal with direct long balls and provide a basis of attack from corners and freekicks, something that has notably dropped off since Van Dijk’s injury.
The dutchman appeared to be a long term option for Liverpool, a player on the radar for summer. However given the desperate need for centre backs, a deal could be moved forward for the right price. Lille are likely to demand a fee in excess of £25-30m.
Eder Militão – Real Madrid
Eder Militão’s stock has sunk since he arrived at the Bernabau from Porto. The Brazilian came with a reputation for recovery pace, hard hitting tackles and a composure under pressure.
At aged 23 and Los Blancos rumoured to be listening to loan to buy offers for the central defender, it may just prove to be the perfect solution for Liverpool.
The Reds pay a nominal loan fee and get to assess the Brazilian who has undoubted raw talent over a period of six months.
Militão would get to play a string of games and build relationships between international compatriots Alisson Becker and Fabinho who has deputised admirably in defence.
If all goes well, they have the option to make that deal permanent for a defender whose best years still appear to be ahead of him.
Aaron Long – New York Red Bulls
The MLS season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is believed a number of players are willing to take loans to maintain their fitness and continue playing.
Long, a member of the USMNT is believed to be in that category and would offer short term cover at centre back.
He was reportedly coveted by West Ham last year and it is believed Liverpool would only have to cover his wages and not pay a loan fee for the United States International.
Ezequiel Garay – Free Agent
Garay, a free agent would be an option in the similar vein to Nevan Subotic.
The former Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg, Valencia and the Argentinian International centre back would provide reassurance and vast experience to the Liverpool backline.
However at aged 34, and given the rigours of the Premier league and the amount of fixtures Liverpool play he may not be able to come in and be a mainstay in the side.
The Argentine appears as a genuine option if brought in as a pair of reinforcements, but probably shouldn’t be viewed as the sole saviour to the defensive crisis.