Dejan Lovren completed his transfer to Zenit St Petersburg this week. Jurgen Klopp now faces a complex decision to replace him – but he can afford to wait.
Still, fringes or not, Liverpool need to replace Lovren. They’re now down to three senior centre-halves – and that likely won’t be enough for Jurgen Klopp. The boss recently talked about the importance of having senior depth in that position.
So Lovren leaves a hole in the plans. The question now is how Klopp and co. go about filling it.
The way we see it, Klopp has three ways to replace Lovren. He could bring in a new player, of course, reinvesting the £11m to pick up a senior centre-half from outside.
We don’t know how likely that is, though. The current economic climate means the Reds will avoid spending if possible and, reportedly, they only have leeway for a left-back.
So he could try and find that player from inside. Klopp has talked about ‘creating transfers internally’ – i.e. looking to solve squad problems with players he already has.
That could mean bringing up a youth product, such as Ki-Jana Hoever or Sepp van den Berg. Alternatively, he could opt for senior experience for fourth choice and move a midfielder there as cover, such as Fabinho. He’s certainly done that before.
Those are the three options we can see and you can read our thoughts on them here. Klopp certainly has a decision to make but, fortunately, there’s no rush.
Time to wait
The Lovren transfer creates a pressing issue but one that doesn’t need solving until the transfer window closes. The new season should start on September 12th but the window doesn’t close until October 5th.
With that in mind, Klopp can wait.
There are a few reasons why that’s important, too. Firstly, if he does want to bring in someone new, he has time to make that happen. There are over two months before time runs out – he should use it.
The economic climate could change in that time and it would affect Liverpool’s dealings. Will clubs have more money than expected? Less? Either way, it changes plans.
But the fact that the Champions League doesn’t finish until late August means the bigger clubs will wait for a while before doing their business. That plays into Liverpool’s hands with this one – they can assess before things get too crazy.
And if Klopp wants to test out academy products or Fabinho for the centre-half role, he has the time to do so. It makes sense to at least see what they can do in pre-season, perhaps saving the club some money or creating exciting options.
If Hoever or Van den Berg are ready to step up, for instance, then that’s fantastic news. Both look like very talented players. They’re both players the boss named when talking about internal ‘transfers’, too.
Klopp should at least assess them over pre-season before jumping into the transfer market.