Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that the Reds are unlikely to sign a new centre-back in the January transfer window, despite being without first-choice pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for several more months and Joel Matip also a regular injury doubt.
Fabinho has been the only constant at centre-back over the past six weeks and has been partnered at different times by Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and even Jordan Henderson in Matip’s absences. Van Dijk and Gomez may not return to action this season.
Liverpool have been keeping an eye on a number of centre-back targets, specifically with a view to the long-term. But while it hadn’t previously been ruled out – and still isn’t – that the Reds would dip into the market this month if the right opportunity for the right price arose, they have always been gearing their plans towards the summer and that hasn’t changed in the circumstances.
Klopp has pointed to the coronavirus crisis and the associated financial impact making life hard in the transfer market, suggesting that Liverpool would otherwise be in the market. But if a short-term stop-gap is the only option available, he isn’t interested in doing business.
“There might be some clubs with no financial problems. But this club was, and always will be with these owners, very responsible with the things we do. I cannot say definitely we will not bring one in but it is just not likely because of the situation in the world,” Klopp said, via BBC Sport.
“If the world would be in a normal place, everything would be fine: we won the league, won the Champions League, the club is in the best possible situation and then you have three senior centre-halves injured, is that a situation when you would usually do something?
“Yes, definitely, but we are not in that situation. I don’t know if something will happen or not. You maybe could do something but it would be a short-term solution and we don’t have that short-term solution and that is not right because it doesn’t help.”
It has been Liverpool’s intention to ultimately to bring in another centre-back since Dejan Lovren was sold to Zenit St Petersburg in July and scouts have been tracking Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, Villarreal’s Pau Torres, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykola Matvienko, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano since then as they assess potential options.
In the short-term, Liverpool are hopeful that Matip will be fit enough to return to action by the time they face Manchester United in the Premier League on 17 January.