Liverpool want Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to reports. But an injury to Virgil van Dijk could change that stance.
The Mirror reports that Liverpool want Kalvin Phillips. The Leeds United midfielder has looked very good over the last two years, enough to that he’s earned four England caps this season.
Liverpool would apparently battle Tottenham Hotspur for the 24-year-old and Leeds would want around £50m.
The interesting thing about this report, however, is the position Phillips plays and what that suggests about Liverpool.
Phillips is a deep-lying midfielder and a very good one. The interesting thing is that Liverpool don’t really need one of those – they’ve got Fabinho. On top of that, Fabinho is only 26 and low down on the list when it comes to replacing players. Especially when so many of the first-team players are pushing 30.
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But signing a new player for that role does make sense if Fabinho is no longer just a holding midfielder. If the Brazilian is also the fourth-choice centre-half – and he appears to be, given his start v Chelsea – then signing a younger player to help cover the holding role is very sensible. Fabinho won’t be there every week if he sometimes plays centre-half, after all.
So this interest would suggest that Liverpool are all-in on Fabinho as a defender on occasion. Or, it suggests they were.
Liverpool announced on Sunday that Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery for a knee injury. There’s no suggestion of when he’ll be back, either – he could be out for a very long time.
That leaves Liverpool with just two recognised senior centre-halves – Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Matip, in particular, has suffered several injuries in recent seasons. That’s not a reliable situation, then.
Should one get injured, Fabinho would have to play centre-half regularly. As much as the Reds trust Fabinho, they won’t want their best holding midfielder playing the season there.
So any money set aside will surely need to go on a centre-half in January. And in that case, they would have four senior players there once Van Dijk returns.
Now Fabinho isn’t also a centre-half and he will play holding midfield every week. Can Liverpool then justify signing £50m Phillips? We’re not so sure. This injury might force them to end that interest, unfortunately.