August 1, 2021

‘Liverpool may need loans as top talent won’t want move’ – Johnson warns of transfer struggles for Klopp

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The former Reds defender doubts that a proven centre-half can be found in January as no-one will want to be behind Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez

Liverpool may have to dip into the loan market during the January transfer window says Glen Johnson, with the former Reds defender doubting that a proven centre-half can be acquired by Jurgen Klopp.

Various targets have been mooted for the Premier League champions as they seek to manage their way through their injury crisis.

Virgil van Dijk was the first to be laid low, with the commanding Dutchman suffering knee ligament damage during the Merseyside derby with Everton in October 2020. He has since been joined on the sidelines by Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, presenting Klopp with a serious selection headache.

Academy graduates Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have been called upon at times, while midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have been asked to step back from their more natural positions.

Enforced tactical tinkering is doing Liverpool few favours, with a side that swept to title glory in 2019-20 finding the going considerably tougher this time around.

Winter additions would aid the cause, but value is notoriously difficult to find in the middle of a season.

Johnson admits that is going to make it difficult for Klopp to get any much-needed bodies onto his books, with it possible that stop-gap solutions may have to be explored.

The former Reds defender told Sky Sports: “It’s a tough one. Obviously Hendo and Fabinho are fantastic players and have proved that they can do a job at centre-half.

“The problem is for Liverpool that if they try to sign someone, whoever comes through the door is going to know that they are third, fourth or even fifth choice come eight months’ time. What player at the top of his game is going to want to do that?

“Possibly a loan, maybe? Possibly someone that knows they are only going to come in until the end of the season. That’s probably a more likely option – but do they need more bodies? Yes, definitely.”

Liverpool kept a clean sheet in their most recent outing, as they played out a goalless draw with Manchester United, but are struggling for a spark and now sit fourth in the English top-flight table.