With a severely depleted defence, will Liverpool strengthen in the January transfer window as they aim to defend their Premier League title?
The champions have lost Virgil van Dijk to a long-term injury while fellow centre-backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are also out of action. Midfielder Fabinho is expected to continue to fill in for the next few games alongside either Nat Phillips or Rhys Williams.
But will Jurgen Klopp’s team spend in January to help ease their defensive worries or will they wait until the summer? We look at some potential options if they do decide to make a move in the winter window.
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Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
Seemingly one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, the fact that Dayot Upamecano signed a new contract in the summer has not stopped reports that he could move to the Premier League. Manchester United and Liverpool have both been linked and he could form a fearsome partnership with Van Dijk when he returns from injury.
He would probably be one of the more expensive options on the market with his contract tying him to RB Leipzig until 2023 and a 42m euro release clause only coming into effect next summer. However, with Liverpool’s defensive options looking depleted, it could be a major boost to sign such a high-calibre centre-back in January. Certainly the last time they splashed out on a defender in the winter window – Van Dijk in January 2018 – it worked out pretty well.
Sven Botman (Lille)
Sven Botman only joined Lille from Ajax in the summer, but there is already speculation that he could be on the move again. The 20-year-old has started all 17 Ligue 1 games this season for Lille, who are top of the table but might reportedly have to sell players due to financial issues.
Sven Botman has impressed at Lille after joining from Ajax
Image credit: Getty Images
Botman is a tall, mobile and left-footed centre-back who is comfortable in possession. His profile suggests he could be a good addition for Liverpool and the way he has settled so quickly at Lille means he may be able to slot straight into the starting XI. However, it has been reported that Lille have set an asking price of £45m, which would give them an enormous profit on the £8m they paid for him in the summer. Whether Liverpool are prepared to spend that much remains to be seen.
Ozan Kabak (Schalke)
Another centre-back option, Turkey international Ozan Kabak joined Schalke in 2019 and has become a regular starter. Like with Lille and Botman, there has been speculation that Schalke would be open to selling Kabak to help improve their financial situation, with the club reportedly facing debts of nearly 200m euros.
Kabak, 20, is a physically strong defender who is good in the air and has won seven caps for his country since his debut last year. It has been reported that Liverpool striker Divock Origi could be involved in a swap deal for the defender.
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David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
With his contract at Bayern Munich expiring next summer, plenty of clubs are likely to be interested in signing David Alaba.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein says there is “strong interest” from Liverpool, along with Manchester City and Manchester United. While Ornstein also adds that the 28-year-old will not agree to be sold next month, if Liverpool are keen, and considering their mounting injury problems, could they perhaps make a deal happen in January? If not then maybe a pre-contract agreement that will see Alaba move to Anfield in the summer.
Alaba would bring plenty of title-winning experience to Liverpool, having been with Bayern since 2010. He has won the Bundesliga nine times with Bayern and the Champions League twice.