Who can save Liverpool's defensive crisis?

Liverpool's defensive crisis deepened on Wednesday as the club discovered the news that Joe Gomez suffered a serious injury during training on England duty. The 23-year-old underwent successful surgery on his left knee tendon on Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for around six months. The Athletic have assessed Jurgen Klopp's defensive options and potential January transfer targets. In the short-term, Liverpool could use Jordan Henderson or Georginio Wijnaldum as "emergency centre-halves". However, the club are looking at RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, Brighton's Ben White, Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Torino’s Bremer. Upamecano is "top of their wanted list", but his £40-million release clause is not active until the summer.

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Paper Round's view: It's an absolute nightmare situation for Liverpool. Firstly, they lose Virgil van Dijk - arguably the first name on their teamsheet - to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which basically rules him out for the season. Then Trent Alexander-Arnold gets a calf injury against Manchester City last Sunday and Joe Gomez suffers a serious injury on international duty. Three of their first-choice defenders are out. You couldn't write it. It's likely we'll see a makeshift defence until the transfer window opens when Liverpool will be forced to make a big decision. Upamecano would be ideal but is likely to be overpriced in January - same as White from Brighton. Maybe a move for David Alaba could be explored. The versatile Austrian looks set to leave Bayern Munich so could be available for a cut-price fee.

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Koeman confirms Wijnaldum interest

Barcelona boss Ronaldo Koeman has admitted that Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum "could be an option in the future" for the club. The 30-year-old was linked with a move to the Camp Nou throughout the summer and his current contract on Merseyside is set to expire at the end of the season, meaning he is allowed to speak with foreign clubs from January. Koeman previously worked with Wijnaldum for the Netherlands national team during his period as manager from 2018-2020. The Dutch midfielder refused to answer when asked if Liverpool had opened talks regarding a contract extension at Anfield.

Paper Round's view: It seems likely that Wijnaldum will end up leaving Liverpool and a move to Barcelona would be a dream for him. The Catalan club might be in a transitional period at the moment but they are still one of the biggest clubs in world football. A reunion with Koeman makes sense for the manager and club too. The Dutch boss is bringing in a familiar face he can trust, while he most likely will join without a transfer fee next summer. Barcelona's financial struggles have been well-documented since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and a free transfer on the level of Wijnaldum is a brilliant piece of business.

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Ronaldo considering Man Utd return, but Juve want Neymar swap – Euro Papers

Boateng to leave Bayern Munich

Jerome Boateng is set to leave Bayern Munich after 10 years at the club, according to Bild. The World Cup winner joined the Bundesliga side from Manchester City back in 2011 and will leave Bavaria upon the expiration of his contract next summer. Boateng has already attracted the interest of multiple Premier League clubs, with London rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur all prepared to enter the race for the 32-year-old. The German defender is allowed to open talks over a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from January.

Paper Round's view: Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham? The three London clubs are all interested in adding the experienced centre-back to their squads next summer - but where should he go? Tottenham already have Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez, while Joe Rodon recently joined from Swansea on deadline day. Similarly, Chelsea have plenty of defensive options - with Thiago Silva taking the role as the experienced head in the squad. This leaves Arsenal. The contracts of David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are all expiring next summer. Luiz may get an extension but north London still seems like the most likely destination for Boateng from the trio. However, Manchester United could do a lot worse...

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Solskjaer gets the dreaded 'vote of confidence'

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has received a vote of confidence from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. The Red Devils manager has been struggling for form as of late, with United sitting in 14th place in the Premier League table. However, Woodward has revealed that the United board are "absolutely committed" to their manager and he retains the full support of the club. Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri were both linked with a move to the Old Trafford dugout last week.

Paper Round's view: Oh no... it's the dreaded 'vote of confidence'. Has it ever ended well after a football manager received the backing from their board? The 'vote of confidence' is synonymous with sackings. It's usually a week or two before the manager eventually gets the chop so this doesn't bode well for Solskjaer. Realistically, United would be silly to miss out on the opportunity to hire a manager like Pochettino. The former Tottenham boss created real change in the Spurs squad and this is exactly what needs to be done at Old Trafford. He's the perfect fit for United... and he could be able to convince Harry Kane to join in the future. Will the 'vote of confidence' be the end of Solskjaer? Let's wait and see...

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