Don’t expect any centre halves to appear this winter.
Jurgen Klopp has heard your concerns about the state of the fitness of his defense, and he shares your frustration.
“How can you be short of centre halves when you have four centre halves plus Fabinho?” he asked rhetorically. “Only Fabinho is injured, Matip is injured and Dejan Lovren had a problem, yes.”
What he does not share, however, is the belief that Liverpool can dig their way out of this injury crisis in the January transfer window.
“We will not sign a centre half because of injuries – that is the world outside who thinks we are short and we have to do it – but afterwards we would have six centre halves and that wouldn’t make a lot of sense,” the boss points out. “And you need quality. You can’t have just somebody [for the sake of it] – I am somebody, I am tall, not quick, but I look like a centre half at least.”
No one could have guessed how much the team would miss Joel Matip when he went off during Liverpool’s only draw to the league season, against Manchester United, but his absence has been felt. It took until this past weekend for the Reds to nab another clean sheet without him. The date of his return is indefinite, but he was not named to the squad traveling to Qatar for the Club World Cup.
The situation isn’t likely to improve now that Fabinho, whose performances in the early part of the season earned him a nailed on spot in Klopp’s starting XI, is out until 2020. And hearts went into mouths this past weekend when Dejan Lovren had to be subbed out in the 40th minute of the game against Bournemouth. The big Croatian has been deemed ready against Salzburg, however, so that’s one potential catastrophe averted. Aside from Lovren, there’s currently only Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remaining who can play that position.
So don’t look for any new Steven Caulker emergency loans happening again any time soon. Lovren, van Dijk, and Gomez will just have to hold things down until Matip and Fabinho return from injury. Perhaps in the new year the three of them will get some kind of break.
It’s interesting to note, however, that he didn’t shutdown talk of any other transfer dealings in the winter window. Speculation has been rampant that some big moves could be made to strengthen the attack in January — especially considering the quiet summer they had. So if you want to get excited about something to do with the transfer drama, get excited about that.