December 4, 2020

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Jurgen Klopp has been backed to act in January after defensive injuries at Liverpool (Picture: PA)

Liverpool will dip into the transfer market in January to sign an ‘A-list’ centre-back to deal with their injury crisis, believes former Reds midfielder Don Hutchison.

Jurgen Klopp’s squad has been hit with a string of injuries in defence, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffering the most and facing months on the sidelines with serious knee injuries.

Emergency centre-back Fabinho has also been out, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is also struggling for fitness, although will be back in much shorter order than Van Dijk or Gomez.

The injuries have left Klopp with just one fit senior centre-back in Joel Matip, with the likes of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips options as cover in the heart of defence.

Hutchison feels this will be enough to get his former club until the next transfer window, but then Klopp will look to invest and invest in a high quality player, naming Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly as potential signings.

‘I think Upamecano’s buyout clause at Leipzig is £40 million [next summer], so that’s not a huge amount of money for such a young talent,’ Hutchison told ESPN FC.

‘Koulibaly is still at Napoli, who was valued at about £60m, so I think what it does is it really pushes Liverpool into the transfer market to go and buy an A-list centre-half, and when Joe Gomez is back and when Virgil van Dijk is back, they’ve still got that quality.

‘The squad from there will only be stronger.’

Klopp has spoken of dropping the likes of Jordan Henderson or James Milner into centre-back, but Hutchison can’t see this happening.

The Scot expects Fabinho to be back and partner Matip against Leicester on 22 November, while Phillips and Williams will be used when required, until a signing can be made.

‘[Klopp will] come up with a game plan and he may give one of the rookie centre-halves a chance to stake a claim because it might dent their confidence if they see Jordan Henderson or James Milner go and play in their position,’ Hutchison said.

‘So he might give Nat Phillips a start, who’s very, very good in the air, I think Rhys Williams is a little bit quicker over the ground, so he might play him [against Leicester] looking at the Jamie Vardy factor.

‘But it’s important that whoever plays, and I think Fabinho’s going to be fit, but I think whoever fills this void in the short term tries to get Liverpool through the next few games, the next period, to try and get them to January.’

MORE : Mohamed Salah tests positive in second coronavirus test and is set to miss Liverpool’s next match

MORE : ‘He fits like a glove’ – Paul Merson hails impact of Liverpool forward Diogo Jota

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