Which Defenders Could Liverpool Look to Buy in The January Transfer Window?

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The start of Liverpool’s title defence has not gone exactly to plan, and last season’s runaway champions have looked a little rusty since returning to action for the 2019-20 Premier League campaign. A shock 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa was followed by an even worse turn of events in the Merseyside derby when Virgil van Dijk suffered a season-ending injury. The Reds will almost certainly look to sign a new centre back in January, and the transfer window can’t come quickly enough for them. 

Van Dijk has Been Crucial 

Liverpool fans will be fearing the worst for their title defence with the confirmation that Van Dijk will most likely miss the rest of the season because of the cruciate ligament injury he suffered at the hands of Jordan Pickford in the 2-2 draw against Everton. The defender has been rock solid since signing for the Anfield club in January 2018. He singlehandedly transformed Jürgen Klopp’s defence and turned Liverpool into title challengers in the two campaigns that followed. 

The figures surrounding the £75 million acquisition’s impact say it all. In the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, Liverpool conceded 42 and 38 goals respectively. In Van Dijk’s two full seasons as the commander of the defence, Klopp’s side have conceded 22 and 33 goals, marking a significant upturn. The Dutchman is able to give orders to the other players around him, hold the defensive line, and offers exceptional speed in tracking back. On top of all that, he is deadly from set plays and has notched 10 goals in 95 league games for the club. 

It isn’t all doom and gloom, though, as Liverpool still have one of the best attacks in the league and the bookies are backing them to continue firing on all cylinders. Indeed, those who bet on football at Space Casino will see that Mohamed Salah is the favourite to finish as the league’s top scorer at the time of writing with odds of 7/2. 

Potential Replacements in January 

Liverpool can’t go into the January transfer market in search of a cheap up-and-coming player who could one day turn into a world-beater. On the contrary, they will need to spend big money to secure the services of a readymade defender who can immediately fill in for Van Dijk from the outset.

One of the main names that has been touted for the role is Napoli man, Kalidou Koulibaly. The 29-year-old was named as The Guardian’s third-best centre back in the world in 2019 and is known for having similar attributes to Van Dijk. With the Senegal international likely to command a fee that could break Liverpool’s transfer record, they could turn their attention to Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic. The Norwegian attracted the interest of the Reds in the summer but a move never came to fruition. 

Van Dijk will be sorely missed, but the good news is that there isn’t long to wait for the next transfer window. If Liverpool manage to bring in the right replacement at that time they could still be in with a shot of winning the division again.

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