Liverpool identify new West Ham star as replacement for stalwart of Jurgen Klopp era, with world-class player also in sights

Liverpool quartet Caoimhin Kelleher, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Takumi Minamino

Liverpool have started to monitor the situation of a West Ham defender as they look to overhaul the position alongside the midfield, according to a report.

Liverpool’s need for a midfield rebuild is well documented. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are likely to depart, while top players such as Jude Bellingham, Nicolo Barella and Mason Mount could be targeted.

But Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp also has some defensive issues which need sorting out. Ibrahima Komate has been out injured for much of the season, limiting him to just 10 appearances in all competitions. This has forced Klopp to either use Joel Matip or Joe Gomez alongside Virgil van Dijk.

But when Van Dijk got injured as well, Klopp had to use Matip and Gomez as his centre-half partnership. This represents a serious drop in quality in defence. Neither Matip or Gomez is a leader, and opposition strikers can capitalise on this to cause havoc on the Liverpool backline.

It is clear that Liverpool could do with another defender joining to improve the team in case Van Dijk and Konate are both injured  in the future. The Reds could also do with future-proofing the position, as Van Dijk and Matip are both 31 years old.

A report from Goal suggests Matip could be replaced in the summer. That is despite him being on Liverpool’s books since 2016 and making 184 appearances across all competitions for the club.

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And surprisingly, West Ham star Nayef Aguerd could move to Anfield to replace Matip. Goal state that Aguerd’s solid displays since joining West Ham in July ‘have not gone unnoticed’ at Liverpool.

This sets up the possibility of Klopp’s team making a bid for the Moroccan at the end of the campaign. Although, it will take a big offer to tempt West Ham into a sale given the fact Aguerd has only recently moved to the London Stadium.

West Ham star a good option for Liverpool despite recent own goal

It is coincidental that Aguerd has been linked with a transfer to Liverpool after recently scoring an own goal. During West Ham’s 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday, Aguerd accidentally headed into his own net to make the score 1-1. Goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Fred then sent Man Utd through to the next round.

For the most part, Aguerd has been a good signing for West Ham. It sounds like he has made a good impression on Liverpool scouts, too. But he is not the only defender on their wish list.

Liverpool are also eyeing up Chelsea’s Levi Colwill and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite. They are on loan at Brighton and PSV respectively.

The only trouble is that Liverpool know it will be hard to snare them from their current parent clubs. This is because of Liverpool’s rivalry with Everton and the fact Chelsea will challenge them for top-four finishes in future campaigns.

In terms of a world-class centre-back signing, Klopp could land Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig. He looks set to be on the move this summer and could cost anywhere between £70-100m. Liverpool will have to fight Chelsea off for him though, as Todd Boehly has recently reignited the Blues’ interest in a huge deal.

Meanwhile, Friday’s Transfer Gossip includes a Liverpool player emerging on Inter Milan’s radar.