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'Ideally yes, because of injuries' - Fowler urges Liverpool to buy new centre-back to help retain Premier League title

13:23 GMT+3 15/01/2021
Robbie Fowler East Bengal ISL 7
The former England striker thinks the Reds still have enough to defend their crown, but defensive reinforcements are necessary this month

Liverpool must sign a new central defender in order to stay competitive in the Premier League title race this season, says Reds legend Robbie Fowler.

Jurgen Klopp has had to use all his managerial acumen this season in handling an injury crisis at Liverpool, which has seen them lose senior defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, with youngsters like Rhys Williams and inexperienced players such as Nat Phillips having to step up.

Fowler thinks that Liverpool are playing well and have upped their game in order to defend their crown in the face of strengthened opposition, but feels a new defender is essential if they are to stay at the top of the English top flight.

Speaking exclusively to Goal on whether Liverpool should enter the January transfer market, Fowler said: "I think, ideally, yes - because of injuries.

"I won't say they are struggling because they are right there. They are still progressing. To win the Premier League is always the toughest. Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, managers who have won the Premier League have always said that the next year is always the hardest.

"People always want to beat the champions. Therefore, they work that little bit harder, run that little bit harder.

"Liverpool are in a great space and they are playing unbelievable football. Eventually, the results will be a little bit better. The championship is still Liverpool's to lose. They are the team to catch.

"Manchester City will run them close - but they probably need someone to come in. For a supporter point of you want your team to be the very best. Jurgen and his staff are certainly looking into it."

Fowler is looking back to his old club for inspiration when it comes to his own managerial career.

He is currently coaching in India, at the helm of Indian Super League (ISL) side East Bengal, and names his former Reds manager Roy Evans as one of his role models - while current Liverpool boss Klopp is another.

Fowler said: "I have grown and got my education in Liverpool. I was a big fan of Roy Evans, who was the manager under whom I played most games. He was a great man-manager. I am big into man-management.

"But if I want to develop my game on now, it would be certainly Jurgen Klopp. I think he ticks every box. He is a manager that you want to be. He is that man because technically and tactically he's excellent. His man-management and demeanour are brilliant as well.

"He is someone that anyone who is a manager now, trying to grow in the game, he is certainly someone who you should certainly aspire to become for what he is and what he has achieved. I am no different. I want my team to play as his teams do."

Former England international Fowler says he still has the hunger and competitive streak from his playing days, which he brings both into management and into his personal life.

He said: "I am ambitious. I am exactly the same that I was as a player. I want to be the very best. I want to compete and win lots of trophies. I wanted to be No.1 in everything. Even when I am playing football with my son, I want to beat him. I want to beat him in ping pong, darts and everything. That is my ethos.

"I am prepared to do anything to be No.1. You need a build a good team and a staff around me. I am happy with the way it is going."