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KLOPP CHASE Liverpool hitting road blocks in hunt for a defender as transfer deadline looms large

Anfield chiefs in scramble to land transfer targets

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Liverpool have run into some roadblocks in their efforts to recruit a defender in the final few hours of this months transfer window, with several of their key targets already crossed off their list of potential signings.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that club officials have finally bowed to his calls for a centre-back to be added to his squad ahead of Monday's transfer deadline, with an injury to Joel Matip in Thursday night's win at Tottenham leaving him with no senior centre-backs for Sunday's trip to West Ham.

With Matip joining Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in the treatment room, Liverpool's owners have reluctantly agreed to allow a defender to be added to Klopp's squad this month, as they abandoned their plan not to make a signing this month on financial grounds.

Yet the late nature of Liverpool's efforts to sign a centre-back has put them in a weak negotiating position, with several top target unavailable in the final hours of this month's transfer window.

With Jurgen Klopp admitting Liverpool's finances are tight, moves for the RB Leipzig defensive duo Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate were ruled out earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Lille would demand a huge up front fee for their Dutch defender Sven Botman and any deal for the highly-rated Dutchman viewed as unlikely before Monday.

Now short-term loan deals also under consideration, with World Cup winner Shkodran Mustafi will be an option if he can agree on a deal to terminate the remaining six months of his Arsenal contract.

Real Madrid back-up centre-back Eder Militao has been linked with a move to Liverpool, but he was picked to start their game against Levente and was sent off just nine minutes into the game.

Militao may have been a viable option for Liverpool at the start of this transfer window, but Real Madrid now have a defensive crisis of their own and it seems unlikely that he will be allowed to leave.

Mustafi appears to be the most viable option for Liverpool as they look for a player with Premier League experience to slot straight into their side for next Wednesday's game against Burnley and then the crucial showdown with Manchester City at Anfield next weekend.

Anfield sources have told the Sunday World that "several options" are being considered, while we are also told there is a growing expectation that Virgil van Dijk could play again this season as he recovers from a knee injury.

Van Dijk's name is expected be added to Liverpool's updated Premier League and Champions League squads for the second half of this season, with Anfield medical chiefs are hugely encouraged by the progress he is making in his training base in Dubai.

Liverpool have also been given a huge boost as Fabinho is expected to be fit to face Manchester City in next weekend's vital top-of-the-table clash.

The Brazilian missed the midweek win at Tottenham and has been ruled out of Sunday’s trip to West Ham United, but Klopp is hopeful he could be back next Sunday.

"It depends on the week – it could be four games as well. We have to see," said Klopp. "I think the game where Fab could be back is City.”

Read John Aldridge's verdict on Liverpool's defensive crisis in this weekend's Sunday World newspaper.

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