Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepts no club is prepared to sell him an “80 million pound centre-back” in the final days of the transfer window, but he’s intent on trying to find a long-term solution to a problem area.
New injuries to Joel Matip and Fabinho, in addition to the long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, mean the Reds boss not only has no fit senior central defenders to play against West Ham but his first-choice back-up is also out.
Having gone through most of January suggesting it was unlikely there would be any activity in the market, Matip’s ankle ligament injury sustained in Thursday’s win at Tottenham – which Klopp hopes is not serious – means there is now a concerted effort to bring in cover.
When pressed about bringing in another defender to help, Klopp said: “I don’t know but we will try.”
However, Klopp is not really interested in a short-term fix, as was evidenced when he failed in a bid for Van Dijk in the summer of 2017 but waited and successfully got his man, for a then world-record transfer fee for a defender, six months later.
“I am not sure there is an 80 million pound ($A143 million) centre-back available at the moment and a club thinks ‘We can get 80 million for him so we will sell him’,” said Klopp.
“I don’t think that’s the case. Actually, pretty much I know. This calibre of player the teams would not sell now.
“We need to find the right player and one which suits our financial situation, that’s clear.”
Klopp denies their stance has changed but the tone of the conversation over a January signing has certainly altered over the last few days.
“My thoughts didn’t change, my words might have. It’s the same situation as before,” added Klopp.
“It’s about a solution, that’s the first thing, and that’s what we are working on.
“Everyone thinks, ‘Oh Liverpool is just fine with the situation and they don’t try.’ We try.”
Liverpool are awaiting a further medical update on Matip as he has yet to go for a scan.
However, the Cameroonian is set for a spell on the sidelines and with Fabinho out of Sunday’s trip to West Ham, Klopp will have to field a 12th different starting centre-back partnership in their 21st Premier League match.
“Last night I was after the game, especially with that (Matip injury), pretty emotional,” added Klopp, referring to his description of the defender’s injury as “serious”.
“Now there are still glimpses of hope that it’s not serious.”