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Jurgen Klopp can’t afford not to address a defensive injury crisis in the January transfer window, according to a club legend
Liverpool need to sign a central defender or else they can say goodbye to their Premier League crown, according to John Aldridge.
The Reds broke into their first league title in three decades in 2019-20, becoming the first team in history to secure the trophy with seven games to play.
Jurgen Klopp’s is leading the pack once again heading into the new year, but his rise to the top of the table has not been so easy this time.
Liverpool are two points clear of second-place Manchester United after 15 games with a trip to Newcastle on Wednesday night, where they will try to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Valuable points have also been lost against Fulham and Brighton this season, while their 7-2 loss at Aston Villa on October 10 sent shockwaves throughout the division.
Klopp’s cause hasn’t been helped by a defensive injury crisis that has seen Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez miss two months of action, with neither of them expected to return until after January.
Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold also spent time on the sidelines with their respective punches, while Joel Matip’s fitness issues continued as he limped during the clash with West Brom at the weekend.
It has been suggested that Liverpool will go ahead with their current squad rather than dip into the winter transfer window for reinforcements, but Aldridge says his former club cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
“Word has spread about Anfield suggesting that Liverpool are not looking to sign anyone next month but it has to be a smokescreen because they simply have to sign a central midfielder if they are serious about retaining the Premier title League, “The Reds said. legend told World Sunday.
“Joel Matip’s injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion confirmed what we have all appreciated for some time: Liverpool have to spend money on a good quality defender.
“I like Matip, and if he could be trusted to play most of the games in the second half of the season, coach Jurgen Klopp could move on to next summer with the current team.
“However, the reality Liverpool faces heading into Wednesday’s game in Newcastle is quite stark: they have a central defender to turn to and that is a midfielder, Fabinho.
“Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez’s injuries have blown a hole in Liverpool’s defensive line and, with Matip clearly struggling with his fitness, Liverpool are terribly short in the middle of their defense.
Aldridge added that Klopp relying on the stars of the club’s academy to see them go through a probationary period is a risky tactic: “Fabinho has been brilliant replacing as a central defender, but the suggestion that captain Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum can play there it’s nonsense.
“Liverpool need three of their best midfielders to play where they are supposed to be, and while Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have done well as a central defender, playing with youngsters in such a vital position is a recipe for the disaster.
“Against the best teams in the Champions League, the youngsters can find out, and that could also be the case in the Premier League.”
When asked how much Liverpool should invest in reinforcements when the market reopens, the former Reds forward replied: “Liverpool’s transfer committee, and especially head recruiter Michael Edwards, have done a magnificent job identifying the players. suitable over the years and now I need to get another rabbit out of the hat.
“It is not easy to sign the best players in January, but Liverpool made big shots when they got Luis Suárez and Virgil van Dijk in the middle of previous seasons and that shows what is possible.”
“I don’t know which players may be available in this transfer window, but the Premier League title is on the line here and Liverpool have to do everything they can to back Klopp and give him the best shot at the title.”