| 8.2°C Dublin

DEFENSIVE WOE Liverpool's long-term transfer plan revealed as they prepare for Virgil van Dijk contract talks

Close

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have long-term injuries

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have long-term injuries

PA

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have long-term injuries

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has accepted that he is unlikely to be permitted to sign a defender in this month's transfer window, despite admitting publicly he would relish the chance to add to his squad.

Long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez forced Liverpool into considering offers for defensive options in recent weeks, but sundayworld.com understands those enquiries have reached dead ends.

Enquiries for Lille's Sven Botman and Brighton's Ben White have yet to be followed up with firm offers as Liverpool's owners are reluctant to spend substantial money in the January transfer window.

Instead, Liverpool have set their sights on making a major signing in next summer's transfer window, when they believe their options will be wider and they could be headed in a different direction financially.

Liverpool are expected to lose in excess of £100million in revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with that backdrop blocking Klopp's effort to sign a defender this month.

"I can't say definitely we won't bring someone in, it's just not likely because of the situation in the world," Klopp said last week.

"It's a tough one for all people and football clubs. Some clubs don't have financial problems but this club - these owners - very responsible.

"I don't know if something will happen or not. It would be a short-term solution and that is not right, it doesn't help really. So we deal like we have so far. It's not the best moment for the whole planet so why would it be for a football club?"

Liverpool's made a decision not to sign a defender to replace Dejan Lovren when he left the club last summer, but their plan was always to make a move for a defensive target in the summer of 2021.

Despite the injuries to Van Dijk and Gomez, as well as their transfer enquiries in recent weeks, that plan now looks set to remain in place, which could put their Premier League title defence in peril.

Their stance could change if opportunities open up in the final two weeks of the transfer window, with a loan move also being considered by Liverpool if the right player is to become available.

Meanwhile, there are some hopes that Van Dijk could play for Liverpool again this season as he continues his recovery from the knee injury sustained in the Merseyside derby against Everton in October, with the club already preparing to open talks with the Dutch defender's advisers over a new contract.

Close

Virgil van Dijk is already sidelined (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Virgil van Dijk is already sidelined (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

PA

Virgil van Dijk is already sidelined (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Van Dijk was rumoured to be close to agreeing a new Liverpool deal last year, but there is now an expectation that he will be made the club's highest earner alongside Mohamed Salah when talks open over a new deal later this year.

Liverpool's defensive holes are set to be exposed again this weekend as Joel Matip looks to be running out of time to be fit to play in Sunday's Premier League showdown with Manchester United.

Maptip has yet to return to full training following his latest injury problem and Klopp may be forced to make a decision over whether to play captain Jordan Henderson in defence as he did in the defeat at Southampton earlier this month, or turn to youngsters Nat Phillips or Rhys Williams.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy