According to the Independent’s Melissa Reddy, when Liverpool do strengthen at centre-back – whether it’s now or the more likely event of the summer – that player will replace Joel Matip in the team.
The Independent report that strengthening at centre-back remains at the ‘forefront’ of the reigning Premier League champions’ plans, and has been so since before and after they signed Virgil van Dijk.
Reddy also writes that Liverpool will now not consider the free transfer signing of David Alaba in the summer after talks with the superstar’s camp last year, as he’s too small for their requirements.
It’s added via club sources that a swoop for the highly sought-after Alaba is a ‘hard no’, whilst Jurgen Klopp’s side are not looking to recruit someone at centre-back who is around the age of 30 in general.
With Matip to turn 30 years old this summer, this approach by the club is a relatively smart one, the Cameroonian has been quality in recent years, but he’s just too injury-prone to rely on long-term.
Matip has been sidelined since he was substituted in the draw vs West Brom, with it now unlikely for the 6ft5 stalwart to return to action for the crucial fixture against rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
Matip, who arrived on a free transfer in the summer of 2016, has made 10 appearances for the club this season – whilst he’s looked solid – his injury-proneness has continued at a time when the Reds are already missing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term knee injuries.
The massive injuries to defenders this season, as well as to Klopp’s side all around could really hinder the Merseyside outfit’s hopes of defending their historic first Premier League title.
With Van Dijk also turning 30 this summer, and coming off the back of a serious injury, it would be wise to recruit someone younger before next season.
That would strengthen the side’s centre-back ranks and also keep Joe Gomez honest, the England international was quality, but being surrounded by an injury-stricken Matip and Dejan Lovren in the past have left the talent without serious competition at times – that can only really make him better.