Back-Up For Fabinho
This season, the Merseysiders are in rude health both on and off the field. Locked in a three-way battle for the title with Manchester City and Chelsea, Liverpool are not in dire need of reinforcements but know there are a couple of areas which would benefit from strengthening.
Their primary target is a back-up option for Fabinho. The protection offered by the Brazilian midfielder is unique in Liverpool’s squad. No-one else has the same ability to snuff out opposition attacks and when the former Monaco man is missing, Liverpool are weakened.
Denis Zakaria To Liverpool Or Dortmund
One player linked with a switch to Anfield who could fill that void is Borussia Monchengladbach powerhouse Denis Zakaria. The Swiss enforcer is out of contract in the summer and has already informed Die Fohlen of his intention to leave.
According to reports in Italy, the 25-year-old ‘dreams’ of playing for Klopp at Liverpool. If the German outfit want to make any money on Zakaria, they must sell him this month – and a fee in the region of €7million to €10million has been suggested.
Complicating the issue is interest from another Bundesliga side: Borussia Dortmund. Former Reds defender Markus Babbel expects Zakaria to join BVB.
“I'm working on the assumption that Denis Zakaria will move to Borussia Dortmund,” Babbel said.
“The word is that he's going to Dortmund. Mainly because there is a coach there, Marco Rose, whom he knows very well, and especially because Dortmund has problems at the defensive midfield position.”
Jude Bellingham On Klopp's Radar
Another midfield link, though not a direct replacement for Fabinho, is Borussia Dortmund starlet Jude Bellingham, 18.
The England international has earned rave reviews during his 18 months in the Bundesliga, lighting up the Champions League group stages despite Die Schwarzgelben’s early exit.
Liverpool are known to be long-term admirers of the former Birmingham City player but a move in the summer of 2022 is more likely.
In terms of departures, Klopp has moved quickly to quash talk of Gomez leaving Anfield, despite finding himself behind Van Dijk, Matip and summer signing Ibrahima Konate.
“It was obviously not the best year for him, but that's how it goes,” Klopp said. “We are patient, and Joe is patient. I have no plans to give anybody on loan in the winter.”
Regardless, there will be interest in one Liverpool defender – Nathaniel Phillips. The 24-year-old stepped up admirably in the absence of more high-profile teammates last season and impressed in Liverpool’s Champions League Matchday 6 win at Milan.
But with four centre-halves ahead of him, Phillips is bottom of the pecking order and will consider his options. Liverpool are thought to want a fee in the region of £15million.
Phillips said: “I want to be playing games. It's been tough because the competition to get in this team is fierce.
“The manager and I agree that the best thing for me is to play as many games as possible. I think you saw last year I developed well.”
West Ham United, Eintracht Frankfurt and Brighton and Hove Albion are among his suitors. Nothing better encapsulates Liverpool’s change of fortune in the last year than their willingness to sell Phillips.