Forget January shopping: The answer to Klopp defensive dilemma is already at Liverpool
COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Jurgen Klopp should ignore calls for a new centre-back in January because there are several options already available in the squad who can do the job just fine.
Liverpool’s defensive woes have continued this season and they were only slightly improved in the summer with the arrival of Joel Matip on a free from Schalke.
The centre-back has been excellent for the Reds so far this season but his inclusion has not been enough to give Liverpool the level of solidity needed at the back.
Ragnar Klavan also joined in the summer but he has rarely been used by Klopp, though he was only expected to be a squad player.
However, Klopp’s decision to use Lucas in the centre-back role ahead of Klavan for the 4-3 defeat against Bournemouth suggested the manager still sees the Brazilian as a senior option. Rightly so. Lucas is a solid citizen who reads the game well.
More intriguingly, Klopp need not dive back into the market in January because Joe Gomez is working his way back to fitness and could be the main answer to the defensive riddle.
The 19-year-old was used in a full-back role prior to picking up a serious ACL injury which has kept him out of the side since October 2015.
Gomez has the ability to play at centre-back and he could be named in the squad to face Middlesbrough at Anfield on Wednesday evening as cover for the injured Lovren after he was substituted at half-time for the under-23s in a planned move.
Mamadou Sakho is likely to leave in January but unless Klopp can land a big name, he’s unlikely to go fishing when he still sees Lucas, Klavan, Lovren, Matip and Gomez as reliable options.
In other Liverpool news, Cameron Brannagan could be joining this club as part of a January deal.