Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip could end up costing Liverpool the signing they need this January. Through no fault of their own, of course.
Liverpool need a defender right now. They’re surviving with Fabinho out of position at the back, frequently alongside a young player.
Sometimes Joel Matip makes it back for a game or two and there was that one time Jordan Henderson played there. Overall, it’s just a bad situation.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez’s injuries have cost Liverpool big time this season. This January, though, offers a chance to correct that.
Only, it’s not easy.
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Liverpool need someone who can come in now for a decent price. At the same time, they need them to be good enough to play right away in a title challenge.
Such a player simply may not exist. And it could be that anyone who is available doesn’t like what they see.
Why wouldn’t they want to join Liverpool, though? Well, because it might simply be a four-month project.
When Van Dijk returns, he’s going straight back into the XI. He’s too good not to be and it sounds as though he’s going to come back fine.
But Gomez may also go right back in. His injury wasn’t as bad as Van Dijk’s and he could play again this season.
If he does, he’d likely replace Fabinho at the back, should a new signing arrive before then. The Brazilian could then play in midfield again.
But what happens when Van Dijk returns afterwards? There’s a good chance Liverpool roll with the Van Dijk/Gomez partnership again as it brought a league title last season.
That’s almost certainly the preference.
And that could really put off a new signing. It would relegate them to third or fourth choice – and that’s not a good place to be at Liverpool.
Just look at last season. Dejan Lovren spent the entire season as fourth-choice, with Matip as third-choice after his injury in October.
Matip spent six games on the bench post injury, starting just once. Lovren started just nine Premier League games all season – he started 11 the season before that.
Any new signing will look at these figures and wonder if they have a regular first-team career once the injuries ease up.
That may even come into Liverpool’s thinking – do they want to spend on a player who will be down to eight or nine starts in a season?
It’s a tough situation, then. One without an easy answer as Liverpool try and save their season. They may really struggle to convince the right player this month.