Liverpool set to address center-back crisis on deadline day

Sports

Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the English Premier League match between West Ham and Liverpool at the the London Stadium in London, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (John Walton/Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Liverpool looks set to address its injury crisis in central defense by making a low-key signing from England’s second division on the final day of the January transfer window.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hasn’t felt the need to bring in reinforcements at center back after the loss of Virgil van Dijk, in October, and Joe Gomez, in November, to long-term knee injuries.

But with the fitness of Joel Matip also proving unreliable, Klopp appears to have changed his mind and could bring in as many as two center backs on Monday.

One is likely to be Ben Davies, a 25-year-old left-sided center half who plays for Preston in the second-tier Championship. He has been linked with a move to Scottish champion Celtic recently.

Such has been the shortage of senior options available to Klopp that he has fielded central midfielders Fabinho and, more recently, Jordan Henderson at center back this season. Fabinho is currently out injured, too.

Henderson played alongside youngster Nathaniel Phillips in the 3-1 win at West Ham on Sunday, for the 12th different center-back partnership in 21 Premier League games this season.

In a turbulent title defence, Liverpool are third in the league, four points behind first-place Manchester City, after playing one more game.

It could be one of the quieter deadline days in the English top division, at the end of a month when there has been an outlay of only around 60 million pounds ($85 million) on players mainly due to clubs reining in their spending during the pandemic.

More than half of that is on two players — Amad Diallo to Manchester United and Said Benrahma to West Ham — whose transfers were first announced in the summer window.

Compare that to 2018, when teams splashed out a total of 420 million pounds ($575 million) in January and even last year, when 230 million pounds ($315 million) was spent in the winter window.

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April 29 2021 07:30 pm

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