Liverpool have been urged to ‘go big’ and target a move for Dayot Upamecano following the serious knee injury sustained by Virgil van Dijk.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were dealt a huge blow in their bid to defend the Premier League title after Van Dijk was ruled out for an extended period, the centre-back requiring surgery after damaging knee ligaments during last weekend’s Merseyside Derby with Everton.
Liverpool were already short of depth at centre-back after allowing Dejan Lovren to leave for Zenit St Petersburg this summer without signing a replacement, with the Reds now possessing just Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as senior options at the heart of the defence.
Fabinho has previously been utilised as an auxiliary central defender and started the victory over Chelsea last month in the position, but the club have now been urged to enter the market for a replacement when the winter window opens in January.
Jamie Carragher believes his former side will have been targeting a new centre-back as their next major addition even before Van Dijk’s injury, and has urged Klopp to accelerate his search to boost the Reds’ title hopes.
“Liverpool’s next big signing had to be a centre-back anyway and I am talking next summer,” Carragher said on Sky Sports.
“Dejan Lovren went and they didn’t replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured. There are question marks now about Joe Gomez.
“So there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market next summer. That was the next one. That has now got to be brought forward to January 1st, whoever the target was in the summer. Not the end of January. Not [wasting time that month] negotiating with a club.”
One player Carragher believes Liverpool should be monitoring is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, the youngster having been linked with a host of Europe’s leading clubs following his impressive performances for the Bundesliga side.
The 21-year-old is believed to have a release clause that will become valid at the end of the campaign, though Carragher has urged the champions to make their move early and ‘go big’ in their search of a new defender.
“There is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano, there is talk of him,” he continued. “Whether he has the profile of Van Dijk, I think he is only 6’1″ or 6’2”, so he is maybe not that aerial, but if he is the one they wanted then bring it forward.
“Pay extra money and do it on January 1st. That means getting through 11 league games without Virgil van Dijk.
“One thing to say about Virgil van Dijk is that in the last 23 games they have only kept five clean sheets, and Van Dijk played all of them, so it is not like everything was perfect. We saw the seven against Aston Villa and we saw the Leeds game.
“But I think they have to go big with a signing.”