The sight of Joel Matip joining Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in the treatment room means that Liverpool have to sign “another senior defender” in January, says John Aldridge.
The Reds have endured a wretched run of misfortune on the injury front this season.
Having already lost their first-choice centre-half pairing to knee problems, the reigning Premier League champions saw Matip forced off at half-time in a 1-1 draw at Fulham.
The hope is that he will not be sidelined for long, but Jurgen Klopp is fast running out of options.
Versatile Brazil international Fabinho has already been asked to fill in at the back, with fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson slotting in alongside him at Craven Cottage.
Aldridge believes “pressure” on those being played out of position can be eased by spending in January, with Liverpool left with little choice but to explore the options available to them.
The former Reds striker told the Liverpool Echo, with the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Dayot Upamecano having already been linked with moves to Anfield: “Joel Matip going off injured at Fulham just proved again that we have to buy once the transfer window opens because, as well as the young kids have done, you can't be having a situation like we have at the moment where the only fit centre half is actually a midfield player.
“Fabinho has done brilliantly, there's no doubt about that, but there are times when we do need him in midfield.
“He's fantastic in there as a holding player and you could say Fulham was one of those games when we missed him in there.
“There's less pressure on the back four when you've got someone of his calibre protecting in front of them and I think there's definitely games when we've missed him in the middle of the park.
“So it makes sense, if the club can find the right deal, to get another senior defender in because it will take the pressure off in both areas of the field and give us a better chance to get the business end of this unique season still in the hunt for honours.”
Liverpool’s coaching team had been suggesting that no moves for a new centre-half would be made in 2021, with faith set to be shown in those already on the club’s books, but another unfortunate injury setback may force their hand as another window of opportunity prepares to swing open.