Premier League • England

Game over for Liverpool star Jurgen Klopp no longer trusts with €45m replacement targeted

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp is pushing the Liverpool board to sanction a move for a new big-money defender in 2024 after it was declared he no longer trusts Joe Gomez and is looking to sign an upgrade.

The 26-year-old defender has been with Liverpool since a summer 2015 move from Charlton, the Merseysiders paying a bargain £3.5m fee for his services. Now in his ninth season at Anfield, Gomez has appeared in 182 games for the Reds, astonishingly never yet registering a goal.

Of course, Gomez’s best work is done very much in the heart of defence, with the versatile star also capable of operating at right-back when required.

His peak form on Merseyside probably came between 2019 and 2020 when his partnership with Virgil van Dijk helped Liverpool end a 30-year wait to become champions of England and also saw them win the Champions League the season prior.

However, a cruel knee injury, sustained while on England duty, sidelined Gomez for 231 days and saw him miss 39 Liverpool matches. On his return, he has never quite reached the same standards, and has been dogged by inconsistency ever since.

Indeed, Gomez has occasionally been shunted to right-back as cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold, and has often look exposed while playing there. And he has found both Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip preferred ahead of him as Van Dijk’s partner, leading to Gomez looking all too anxious to make his impact felt when given a rare start at centre-half.

As a result, it’s now surprise to see that Gomez, after eight full seasons at Anfield, has slipped massively down Klopp’s thinking.

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Klopp ‘no longer trusts Joe Gomez’

And while he will likely still hang around at Anfield with Matip likely to leave on a free, Klopp seemingly no longer trusts Gomez as first choice.

That’s according to journalist Toby Cudworth, who told the Talking Transfers podcast that he expects Liverpool to sign an upgrade in the coming months.

“I think centre-back is crucial to Liverpool right now. Van Dijk is not at the peak of his powers but is still the best option they’ve got,” he said.

“Konate has struggled with injuries. Matip is very up and down in terms of consistency of performance.

“And Joe Gomez is on the periphery, he fills in at right-back every now and again, but I don’t think he has got the trust of Klopp.

“Unfortunately I don’t think he has the ability for what Liverpool needs to continue being in the title mix.”

Assessing Liverpool’s title prospects, Cudworth added: “Liverpool think they can be in the mix for the title.

“So in January I would expect them to try and sign a centre-back and a defensive midfielder and maybe another player on top of that.”

Goncalo Inacio a transfer target for Liverpool

According to reports, Liverpool are on the trail of Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio, who at 22, has clocked up some 132 appearances, and plenty in European competition, for his club.

A regular in the heart of the Portugal rearguard, Inacio has often drawn comparisons with his compatriot and Manchester City star Ruben Dias.

And with a release clause of €45m (£39m), he has a fee which is well within Liverpool’s reach.

Per reports, Liverpool watched Inacio in action during Portugal’s 5-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday evening as the Reds ramp up their interest.

Another advantage for Klopp is that Inacio is one of the rarer breed of left-footed centre-halves, meaning Van Dijk could switch to the right side of defence. The experienced Dutchman often operates on the left side of Liverpool’s centre-half pairings with his speed often able to get him out of trouble. But there is a growing consensus of late that Van Dijk would benefit from a slight move to the right as he enters the autumn of his career.

At 22, Incacio looks like a sound investment for the Reds if they can get a deal done and it would come as no surprise were Liverpool to make their move in the January window.

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