The Midfield Injuries Should See LFC Sign a Centre Back

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The Midfield Injuries Should See LFC Sign a Centre Back

Despite the assurance of Nat Phillips returning early from his loan spell at Celtic (where he made just six appearances), on top of the tremendous emergence of Jarell Quansah, there is still perhaps a need to add one piece to the Liverpool squad in this January transfer window. As Curtis Jones scared the fan base against Bournemouth nearly joining the likes of Trent Alexander Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai, Thiago Alcântara, and Stefan Bajčetić, on the Anfield injury list, it brings forward questions of how to cover these absentees, in both the short and long term. Some of those names having been missing for a long while, whereas the rest are recent additions to the AXA Training Ground medical room. I have written another piece this week, where I champion the possibility of moving the vice-captain into a more permanent midfield position, given the keen impact of Conor Bradley in his once exclusive position. The continued defensive brilliance of Joe Gomez is one of the most pleasing parts of this campaign, whilst both Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas are due back from injury very soon. When you add Owen Beck to the stable of first team ready full backs, suddenly, a positional move for Trent seems more than logical. My only want would be to see a 4-3-3 system incorporated (minus the hybrid), thereby allowing Joe Gomez the starting berth at right back. With Conor Bradley already primed as a viable rotation piece, I see no drop off in either area, as the left sided positions would be covered also.

How Would Such a Shuffle Effect the Backline?

The only issue in undertaking such a definitive switch of the reds number 66, would be in losing Joe Gomez from the central defensive group. I would not want to see a continuation of his current utility status, as such an endeavour should be reactionary and not part of the future plan. Despite Joël Matip’s contract nearing its end (31 June 2024), it remains unclear whether the popular Cameroonian will have that deal extended. I suspect his manger will look to enforce an extension (to allow for rehabilitation and loyalty), though the presumed lesser terms may not appeal to the 32-year-old. The stark reality is that a replacement must be sought by the summer, however, after such a melee of injuries to the midfield area (which will only continue), I would be inclined to bolster the central defensive area instead and right now.

Who to Target?

There has been a raft of names listed by LFC sports writers and journalists in the previous month or so, relaying their opinions on defensive targets that could well become ideal recruitments for the reds. Some of those names are listed below, with my preference of which player is best suited in descending order. I have limited the list to just five options, however, if the signing of a centre back were to be pushed to the summer, that list would increase significantly.

Leny Yoro

Club – Lille

Nationality – France

Age – 18-years-old DOB – 13/11/2005

Height – 6ft 3inch

Weight – 73kg

Playing Positions – RCB / LCB

Preferred Foot – Right

Contract Expiry – June 30 2025

Transfermarkt Value – €25m

Projected Cost of Deal – €60m

France Under-21 Caps – 4 games

Verdict – If Jörg Schmadtke can get him through the door now, that is what must happen. This is a sensational talent and monstrous specimen that will attract many of Europe’s elite clubs in the summer.


Ousmane Diomande

Club – Sporting Lisbon

Nationality – Ivory Cost

Age – 20-years-old DOB – 04/12/2003

Height – 6ft 3inch

Weight – 86kg

Playing Positions – RCB / LCB

Preferred Foot – Right

Contract Expiry – June 30 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €40m

Projected Cost of Deal – €60m

Ivory Coast Caps – 1 game

Verdict – The brilliant back up option to Leny Yoro. This young man is also a ferocious talent and would immerse himself into the Anfield group superbly. Rumoured to have a buyout clause of €60m, the dominant defender would be an upgrade on Joël Matip.

Jean-Clair Todibo

Club – Nice

Nationality – France

Age – 24-years-old DOB – 30/12/1999

Height – 6ft 3inch

Weight – 88kg

Playing Positions – RCB / LCB

Preferred Foot – Right

Contract Expiry – June 30 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €35m

Projected Cost of Deal – €45m

France Caps – 2 games

Verdict – Short of paying a release clause for others, this player represents the most likely name that could be acquired. His overall level has not the ceiling of those above, yet he would vastly increase the defensive depth behind Virgil and Ibou.

Dávid Hancko

Club – Feyenoord

Nationality – Slovakia

Age – 26-years-old DOB – 13/12/1997

Height – 6ft 2inch

Weight – 82kg

Playing Positions – RCB / LCB / LB

Contract Expiry – June 30 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €35m

Projected Cost of Deal – €35m

Slovakia Caps – 35 games

Verdict – A strong defender that would offer variation as a left sided centre back. If this deal were at the stated price and the players above became too expensive, it may suit the reds recruitment team to target this aggressive ball winning defender.

Gonçalo Inácio

Club – Sporting Lisbon

Nationality – Portugal

Age – 22-years-old DOB – 25/08/2001

Height – 6ft 1inch

Weight – 77kg

Playing Positions – RCB / LCB / LB

Contract Expiry – June 30 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €40m

Projected Cost of Deal – €50m

Portugal Caps – 5 games

Verdict – The talented and classy defender has not the height or aerial prowess of a Liverpool centre back, though if the hybrid initiative were to be a long-term strategy, then he would be an immediate upgrade at left back. Has a release clause in his contract.

I was on the fence as to whether I wanted Liverpool spend in the winter transfer window, yet after the recent injuries to both Curtis Jones and Mohamed Salah, I would be keen to see one defensive reinforcement added. Such a January signing would allow Trent Alexander Arnold to undertake the role he truly wants, which is to be the midfield sensation he is destined to become.

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