Improving the Liverpool Defence: Jürgen Klopp’s January Targets

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) shakes hands with Liverpool's German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (L) at the end of the English Premier League football match between Swansea City and Liverpool at The Liberty Stadium in Swansea, south Wales on October 1, 2016. / AFP / GEOFF CADDICK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

This season, Liverpool have established themselves as serious title contenders. With the January transfer window just around the corner and the Reds sitting six points off leaders Chelsea, Jürgen Klopp will be looking to make some additions to the squad, which could help push the team towards their first Premier League title.

Problem Areas

Liverpool’s key problem area has been the defence. The team’s centre-backs are yet to perform consistently and questions over the team’s goalkeepers are yet to go away. Simon Mignolet has impressed since replacing Loris Karius between the posts, but has lacked confidence in the past. Whilst Joel Matip has done an impressive job when partnered with Dejan Lovren at centre-back, the summer signing from FC Schalke has been prone to injury during his time at Anfield. Here are five players Klopp should consider making a move for to help boost his side’s title chances.

Virgil Van Dijk

After a remarkable start to the campaign, the Southampton defender has been linked with an array of top teams leading up to the January transfer window. Van Dijk has played in all 17 of the Saints’ games this season and has helped his side keep seven clean sheets in that time, conceding only 16 times all season.

Having signed from Celtic for an estimated £13m, Van Dijk has been valued at as much as £60million of late by the Saints. The Dutchman has also insisted he is happy at Southampton and enjoys playing under pressure. Van Dijk told the Times: “Southampton is a very good club for me, it is an amazing place to be and I am happy to be part of the success.” A combination of a hefty price tag along with competition from top European giants could prevent the Reds from signing the star centre-back.

Jordan Amavi

Another player the Reds could pursue in order to solve their defensive problems is Aston Villa full-back Jordan Amavi. The 22-year-old Frenchmen has been linked with a move to Anfield and could replace James Milner at left-back. Amavi has been a bright spark for Villa this season and can balance getting forward with tireless defensive work and would compliment Nathaniel Clyne well.

Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia, however, has indicated the club will not be looking to part with him any time soon, stating through Twitter that the club “have rejected an offer of £25million” for the full-back.

Danny Ward

When Liverpool signed Loris Karius in July they made the immediate decision to loan out talented young goalkeeper Danny Ward to Huddersfield Town.

Ward was impressive for Wales during their Euro 2016 campaign and has continued to perform at a high level in the Championship this season. Huddersfield side currently sit 4th in the table and are in strong contention for the play-off places, and the Welshman has displayed great confidence this season. With Simon Mignolet once again looking shaky in the win against Stoke City, Ward could force Liverpool to recall him from his loan spell.

All of the above scenarios would benefit Liverpool from a defensive perspective no matter which direction Klopp chooses to take. Signing Van Dijk is likely the most popular choice amongst the fans, but recalling Danny Ward from a loan spell could have the most interesting impact on Liverpool’s season and would once again display the manager’s confidence in the youth system.

Main Photo

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.