According to a recent report by The Athletic (Paid Subscription Required), Premier League giants Liverpool have been urged to make a defensive signing this winter, with three names from across the continent tipped as players who would fit the bill. The three centre-halves that Liverpool have been linked with by the source are Brighton and Hove Albion’s Ben White, Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, and the most marquee one of the lot – RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano. Irrespective of who they move for however, one thing that’s for certain is that they will need to bring in reinforcements in January.
What Is Liverpool’s Defensive Situation Right Now?
The Reds currently find themselves in a serious defensive crisis, as two regular first-choice centre-half options are both out of the side with long-term injuries. Virgil Van Dijk has been out of action for a couple of weeks now, and it has been clarified numerous times that the Dutchman isn’t expected to return until much later in the season, if he does at all that is. More recently, while on international duty with England, Joe Gomez also suffered a knock, which is said to require knee surgery. With two key names out, and Fabinho currently unavailable as well, Joel Matip remains their only realistic option at the back.
Let’s identify the defender that Liverpool should target in the winter:
The 20-year-old Turkish international is one of the highest-rated centre-halves in world football at the moment, and the Reds’ interest in the player has been long-standing as well. Despite his tender age, the Schalke man already has four caps for Turkey, and stands at over 1.86m tall. Capable of reading play and making interceptions just as well as he deals with crosses into the area, the youngster could be the ideal choice for the future. However, bringing in a player who has no experience of playing in the Premier League does come with its own share of risks.
The Brighton man is probably the most sought-after English defender in the Premier League at the moment, and with good reason. His exploits while on loan at Leeds United in the Championship last season were nothing short of exemplary, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Reds potentially make a move in the winter. Capable of filling in at right-back or even at defensive midfield if required, he could serve the purpose of a utility player to Jurgen Klopp. With eight appearances in the league this season, he would come with prior experience in the English top-flight as well.
This French centre-half has been the talk of the town all over Europe for a while now, owing largely to his stellar defensive abilities. Standing at 1.86m tall, Upamecano tends to be quite the force at the back, while he’s capable of producing the goods in attack as well. Having been a Leipzig player for the last three seasons now, the 22-year-old has won over the hearts of scouts around the continent, largely owing to his defensive acumen. Adept at reading play and being in the right place at the right time, the defender has even made a place for himself in the French national side over recent years.
Picking The Defender That Liverpool Should Target In The Winter
For all the promise that the three players mentioned above would offer to the Reds, it must be conceded that experience of playing in the gritty nature of the Premier League mustn’t be overlooked. Unlike the Bundesliga, defenders are required to be a lot more proactive and aggressive in the English top-flight, and asking a player from a foreign league to come in and immediately start to do a job would be unrealistic. Considering the grave situation that the Merseyside club find themselves in, a defensive acquisition is a necessity, and as things stand, moving for Ben White is probably the way to go for Klopp.