Liverpool’s misfortune on the injury front has left them facing “mission impossible”, says John Aldridge, with it now imperative that a team “desperate” for centre-half reinforcements enter the difficult winter market.
Jurgen Klopp has seen luck desert him over recent weeks, with a string of fitness problems leaving those at Anfield down to the bare bones.
The reigning Premier League champions have remained competitive on multiple fronts in 2020-21, but are having to weigh up their options heading towards another transfer window in January.
Value is notoriously difficult to find in that marketplace, but Aldridge believes the Reds have been left with no choice but to spend as they continue to be linked with the likes of Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly of RB Leipzig and Napoli respectively.
The former Liverpool striker told the Sunday World: “Just when Jurgen Klopp dared to believe that he could navigate his way to success without Virgil van Dijk, he suddenly finds himself staring at mission impossible.
“The injury to Joe Gomez has plunged Liverpool into turmoil. While it looked like they were finding a way to win without Van Dijk, the defensive issues have now reached breaking point.
“Unfortunately, Gomez’s situation cannot be solved quickly and, when you throw in the reality that Joel Matip also has fitness worries, there is only one solution left.
“While Fabinho can slot in at centre-back and do a good job, Jordan Henderson could play in there at a push, and young lads like Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams are showing real potential, Liverpool need to make their move to bring in a central defender now.
“That player needs to be ready to come to the club when the transfer window opens on January 1st, he needs to have a good fitness record – and also have top-level experience.”
Aldridge added: “Signing that player in the upcoming transfer window when every club in Europe now knows Liverpool are desperate will not be easy, and it will also be expensive.
“Yet, this is a moment when Klopp needs to be backed, as not even the greatest manager in world football can dig himself out of this hole.
“Liverpool have eight Premier League games to play in what is left of 2020, starting with league leaders Leicester, which will not be an easy game with Jamie Vardy always a threat for them.
“Everyone always wants to beat the champions, but this is clearly a Liverpool side that have had their feet taken from underneath them and they just have to find a way to get through it.”
Liverpool sit third in the Premier League table at present, one point behind Leicester, but are going to have to get creative in their team selections if their defence of a much-coveted crown is to be kept on track.