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Transfer window Looking through Liverpool's transfer smokescreen as Lille's Sven Botman is linked with a move to Anfield

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters

Pool via REUTERS

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters

The word emerging from Liverpool in recent weeks suggests the Premier League champions are not looking to add to their squad in the January transfer window, but history tells us that those sentiments may not be aligned with reality.

Since the summer of 2017 and their botched attempt to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, Liverpool have been guarded in transfers dealings to the point where messages are sent out to thrown journalists off the scent of a potential move.

That approach was repeated last summer when Liverpool insiders repeatedly insisted Thiago Alcantara was 'not an active target' in the weeks and even the days before the Champions League-winning midfielder flew into Merseyside to complete his switch from Bayern Munich.

In addition, there were no leaks prior to Diogo Jota's move from Wolves to Liverpool in September, with similar secrecy surrounding the deal to bring Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiacos to Anfield a few weeks earlier.

With the club's chief negotiator Michael Edwards learning harsh lessons from the mistakes made in the initial attempt to sign Van Dijk - with what was deemed to be an illegal approach resulting in a public apology from Liverpool to Southampton - the Anfield giants have done their business in a very efficient and clinical manner since then.

Now we can expect more of the same in this month's transfer window.

sundayworld.com revealed last month that Liverpool has been actively working on a list of targets to bolster their defensive resources after the long-term injuries to Vigil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, with Brighton's Ben White one of the names on a list of 'players of interest'.

Yet White is just one of many players under consideration, with Liverpool goal scoring great and Sunday World columnist John Aldridge among those urging the club to make signings in this transfer window.

"Word has been coming out of Anfield suggesting Liverpool are not looking to sign anyone next month, but that has to be a smokescreen because they simply have to sign a centre-half if they want to hang on to their Premier League title," Aldo told us.

"The injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have ripped a hole in Liverpool's defensive line and with Matip clearly struggling with his fitness, Liverpool are horribly short at the centre of their defence.

"Fabinho has been brilliant filling in at centre-back, but the suggestion that captain Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum can play in there is nonsense.

"Liverpool's transfer committee, and especially recruiter-in-chief Michael Edwards, has done a magnificent job of identifying the right players in recent years and now they need to pull another rabbit out of the hat.

"I don't know what players may be available in this transfer window, but the Premier League title is on the line here and Liverpool have to do all they can to back Klopp and give him the best chance to clinch it."

There was something of a Twitter frenzy on Friday when Lille's talented defender Sven Botman posted an Instagram story suggesting he was meeting his agent amid links with a move to Liverpool.

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Lille's Sven Botman battles for the ball with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham. Photo: AP

Lille's Sven Botman battles for the ball with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham. Photo: AP

AP

Lille's Sven Botman battles for the ball with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham. Photo: AP

At the age of 20, Botman would fit the mould of the type of player Liverpool will target this month, with the Anfield club unlikely to sign experienced performers as they will be keen to sign players who will be groomed to play alongside Van Dijk when he returns from his knee injury.

The prospect of an all-Dutch centre-back pairing of Van Dijk and Botman could be enticing for Liverpool, but we were told last month that several names were being considered as potential targets and a final deal would only be considered if the finances were right for the club.

What can be dismissed is the claim that Liverpool are not striving to make moves as the transfer window opens for business, with their need to sign a central defender all the more pressing given what now looks likely to be ongoing injury issues for Joel Matip.

Liverpool are likely to sign a centre-back in this transfer window, but the identity of the player coming into Anfield will only be revealed when the club decide the time is right.

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