Jurgen Klopp has had one glaring numerical equation to solve so far this summer following Dejan Lovren’s departure leaving the German manager with just three central defensive options to pick from ahead of Liverpool’s title defence which is just days away.
Liverpool have been persistently touted by the media to be in the market for a fourth choice direct replacement to the Croatian international yet Klopp is prepared for the 2020/21 campaign and is content with his defensive options as well as being able to rely on Fabinho as emergency cover.
However, it has also been reported that inside the club, Liverpool understand how unique this current financial landscape is and events regarding transfers could change quickly claims Paul Gorst of the ECHO.
Joe Gomez is currently the most likely option to partner the irreplaceable Virgil van Dijk following an unforgettable 2019/20 campaign for the former Charlton graduate. At the age of just 23, Gomez could be a mainstay in this Liverpool team for the next 10-15 years.
Also, Klopp has the option of Joel Matip to regularly rotate in between with the Cameroonian defender looking to put last season’s injury-ravaged campaign firmly behind him in an attempt to reclaim his regular starting tole in the team.
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Saturday’s 7-2 victory against Blackpool showcased the first initial steps to redemption where he got on the scoresheet with a towering header to pull Liverpool back into the game having initially fallen two goals behind.
Luckily for Klopp, a large proportion of his confidence regarding cover in the defensive department stems from the durability of the planet’s best central defender Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman has started every single PL match for Liverpool over the previous two seasons and featured in 50 matches for the Reds last time out missing just one game through illness.
The reigning UEFA Player of the Year once again will be the first name on the teamsheet for Klopp with the confidence that Van Dijk can remain a mainstay in the team for a third consecutive season.
It’s become an intriguing prospect regarding who is better suited to start along Van Dijk regarding Matip and Gomez as both have showcased strong defensive credentials in the past although Matip has seen his progress in the team persistently hampered by injury.
Gomez clocked up 35 appearances last season while Matip was restricted to just nine league matches during Liverpool’s procession to the title giving Gomez the platform to regularly shine over a sustained period in the starting XI.
Barring an injury on international duty, Gomez is likely to be given the nod when Liverpool’s title defence finally begins at Anfield against Leeds United on Saturday.
With the game just five days away, Klopp look sets to avoid the temptation of adding a fourth central defender to his squad with Fabinho currently touted as the most viable candidate to cover if injuries were to strike Matip and Gomez who have both had their own respective injury woes in the past.
This was backed up by reputable journalist Paul Gorst who during a Q&A for The ECHO claimed Klopp was planning for life this season without the luxury of a direct replacement for Lovren.
He said: “Was told the club are planning for just Matip/Gomez/Van Dijk with Fabinho as emergency.
“But it was also stressed it is a unique window and fluid market. I personally think the club will wait until late to bring in an experienced centre-half of some sort. But that is just a hunch right now.”
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