Dayot Upamecano is top of Jurgen Klopp’s ‘wanted list’ as Liverpool look for defensive reinforcements following the club’s injury crisis.
Joe Gomez became the latest player to be ruled out for a significant period after sustaining a serious knee injury in England training this week, with the centre-back having now undergone surgery and expected to miss the majority of the campaign.
The news of Gomez’s injury has come as a huge blow for the Premier League champions who had already seen their defensive options depleted by a succession of injuries, Virgil van Dijk also anticipated to miss the entirety of the season after sustaining an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury in last month’s Merseyside Derby.
The absences of Gomez and Van Dijk leave Liverpool with just one senior centre-back amongst their ranks in Joel Matip, who has endured his own injury problems over the past year and has started just 10 league fixtures since the start of last season.
Further shorter-term injuries to Fabinho – who has deputised at centre-back this season – and Trent Alexander-Arnold have further added to the Reds’ injury crisis and leaves Klopp with just the inexperienced Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips as cover.
According to The Athletic, Liverpool are now considering a move for reinforcements during the winter window with RB Leipzig’s Upamecano top of the club’s transfer wish-list.
The France international is regarded as one of finest young defenders in world football and has been linked with a host of Europe’s leading clubs since his emergence in the Bundesliga, and is believed to contain a release clause in his contract of around £40m – though this will only become active at the end of the season.
Liverpool had been planning to enter the market for a new centre-back next summer after allowing Dejan Lovren to leave for Zenit St Petersburg this summer without signing a replacement, though the threat of their title hopes being derailed amid their current injury crisis could accelerate the search.
Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Torino’s Gleison Bremer are also believed to be on the Reds’ radar, as is Brighton’s young defender Ben White, though The Athletic report that the club hierarchy believe there is better value in the market abroad.