Liverpool’s injury woes in defence are no secret and the need for defensive reinforcements is clearer than ever.
Following the departure of Dejan Lovren, the Reds failed to sign a replacement to act as back-up. With Jurgen Klopp opting to put faith in the youngsters such as Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to complete the centre-back position at Anfield. A position already occupied by Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.Embed from Getty Images
However, a string of season-ending and reoccurring injuries saw the club’s backline depleted. The centre-back pairings, in the latter stages of 2020, changed in nearly every game.
With the end of the season in sight, there will be multiple free agents on offer. If you look at previous free transfers such as James Milner and Joel Matip, you can see that taking a chance on that agents could result in Liverpool securing a bargain.
Serbian, SSC Napoli, 29.
In recent history, Liverpool are no stranger to playing Italian side, Napoli. During their Champions League winning campaign in 2019, the Reds had to overcome, then-manager, Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Mohammed Salah scored the winner in that game but Alisson Becker stole the headlines with his match-winning save in the dying embers of the clash.
Serbian international Nikola Maksimović’s contract will expire in Naples this summer.
The centre-back will fit into the transfer criteria of under 30, just. But, the defender will be able to contribute to the defence with his physicality and would fit in to the Liverpool philosophy with his passing abilities thus far he has completed 9 per cent of his attempted passes in his seven Serie A appearances, as per FBRef.
However, he appears to be out of favour under Gennaro Gattuso.
Spanish, Manchester City, 20.
What better would it be to snatch a rival’s defender for free?
Eric Garcia has Premier League experience under Pep Guardiola whilst they had a defensive crisis of their own during the lockdown edition of the Premier League.
However, a head injury against Arsenal put a halt to his run of form in the Citizens defence.
The Spaniard possesses an excellent footballing brain and can read the game from his position. He made 10 interceptions in the 13 games he featured in last season.
However, the defender falls short of Liverpool’s defensive criteria as he fall’s just below 6 feet.
Last season, in 12 attempts, he won just four tackles and boasted 54.5 per cent tackles won against oncoming opposition, as per FBRef.
Morocco, Wolves, 30.
Wolves stalwart Romain Saïss has six months remaining on his contract at Molineux.
The Moroccan has enjoyed five years at Wolves and he is on course to enjoy his best scoring season in England.
For instance, his most prolific season came in their title-winning Championship season in 2017/18, where he bagged four and he has currently netted on three occasions for Nuno Esprito Santo’s side.
The 30-year-old just misses out on fulfilling the criteria set by the transfer committee but he evidently provides aerial prowess winning 63 percent of his duels last season and 56.9 percent so far, as per FBRef.
In addition, he poses a set-piece threat, something the Reds have lacked since the injuries suffered by Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip.
However, one aspect of his game deemed a weakness is his indiscipline.
LFC TR Verdict
In the times of financial instability, for example Arsenal’s Government bailout this month. It would be ideal to add to our defence but without minimal economic damage.
For me, Romain Saïss is the ideal candidate for the Reds with Premier League experience and multiple strengths on his side.
None other than the ability to offer Liverpool stability at one end and a threat at another end of the field with his heading capabilities.
With the inflated transfer market, many of Jurgen Klopp’s defensive targets will be priced at over their estimated valuation and this seems a no-brainer in the grand scheme of things.
Written by Stephen Killen (@SteKillenBL).