Liverpool have endured something of a mixed bag so far this season. Emerging as the winners of a seven-goal thriller against Leeds on the opening day, they began their campaign as defending Champions strongly, with victories over Chelsea and Arsenal following. Whilst a rare off day saw them on the wrong side of a 7-2 drubbing against Aston Villa, Liverpool are now hitting some form in the Premier League.
Conversely, Liverpool’s hopes of back-to-back Premier League championships took a blow when talisman Virgil Van Dijk was ruled out for the rest of the season following an inexplicable challenge from Jordan Pickford in October. Starlet and first-choice right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold soon joined him on the treatment table, before Van Dijk’s centre-back partner Joe Gomez also suffered on England duty.
All this has left the Red’s boss scratching his salt and pepper beard, pondering his options in the January transfer window to solve his defensive woes. He could do worse than bringing in some of these prospects to sure up his backline and keep the Premier League trophy at Anfield.
The burly Brighton centre-back was on Liverpool’s radar over the summer following a Championship winning loan spell at Leeds. The 23-year-old is one of the Premier League’s most admired young defenders, and as such, interest around securing his services will be high, especially considering his adaptable playing style allows him to play further up as defensive midfielder.
However, Brighton penned White to a fresh four-year contract back in September, and given that The Seagulls expect to be in a relegation scrap this season, despite their recent draw with Liverpool, Graham Potter is unlikely to let his most prized asset go halfway through the campaign. Liverpool may therefore have to wait until next summer before launching a serious bid.
Turkish international and Schalke defender Ozan Kabak could also be another outside bid for Liverpool over the winter transfer window. Aged just 20, the centre-back is already amongst the highest rated defenders in Germany, and as such, has caught the eye of Liverpool’s scouting staff.
Jurgen Klopp, of course, has a good reputation of getting the most out of his young defenders, with Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez both under 25, and he blooded 19-year-old Reece Williams in the Champions League this season, so there is no doubt he could replicate similar success with Kabak. However, Inter Milan are reportedly also pursuing his signature, so Klopp will have to present a compelling case to secure his man
The Napoli man was apparently courted by just about every club in Europe this summer, but rather remarkably remained with the Italian giants. Both Manchester clubs were reportedly interested, but City opted for Ruben Dias, whilst United have entrusted the long term future of their defensive prowess to one Harry Maguire…
Still, the Senegal captain would be a marquee signing for Jurgen Klopp’s side, with many considering him in the same prestige as Liverpool’s own Virgil Van Djik. Named as the third-best centre-back in the world by the Guardian in 2019, Liverpool would surely have the greatest defensive partnership in world football.
The move is not however Jurgen Klopp’s style. Such landmark signings are rare, and Liverpool would perhaps find themselves accused of tomfoolery by shelling out an estimated £70 million for a 29-year-old.
A move for this young Frenchman would represent more of an investment for Liverpool, and we’ve already mentioned how Klopp enjoys working with emerging talent and modelling them into world-class players.
Still only 22, Upamecano is one of the stars of Julian Nagelsmann’s young RB Leipzig side which reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season. These accolades would make Upamecano an attractive signing for Liverpool this summer, and he is likely to be a much cheaper option than his compatriot Koulibaly, with the youngster valued at around £54m. Whilst hardly the bargain of the century, Liverpool could do worse than opting for the centre-back to fill the huge gap in defence left by Virgil Van Djik.
If Liverpool choose to opt for experience rather than youthful promise, given their huge losses in defence, then Diego Carlos would be a wise pick for the Reds.
Aged 27 and coming into the prime of his defensive career, the Brazilian has had an impressive time at Sevilla, who lifted the Europa League last season, although Klopp may be concerned at the number of penalties Carlos gave away in that campaign, especially considering how trigger happy referees have become in awarding spot-kicks.
Whilst the apparent £68m release clause may be off-putting for Liverpool, their need to secure a decent centre-back who can come into the side immediately may mean they have to get their wallet out.
Liverpool Premier League and Champions League Odds
As we head towards the January window, and a busy festive period of fixtures, Liverpool’s recent resurgent form has seen them once again become favourites to retain their Premier League crown; they are being priced at 2/1 to become Champions again come the end of the season with most bookies.
Looking around at the best betting brands, most of the bookmakers offer Free Bets for the Premier League and if you want to use this type of offer on a more short term Premier League market then the Reds can be backed at 11/8 to be top of the table at Christmas.
As Liverpool look to make progress in Europe, Klopp’s men can be backed at 6/1 to win European football’s biggest prize in 2021.