Jurgen Klopp has turned the heat up on Liverpool owners FSG regarding a defender deal they might not like, and the Reds boss has opened up on his January transfer plans.
Liverpool were dealt a cruel blow upon learning centre-back Joel Matip suffered a ruptured ACL during the 4-3 victory over Fulham last weekend. The veteran defender, 32, will undergo surgery to fix the issue and his season is now over.
However, the devastation for Matip might not end there, with the player’s contract expiring at the end of the 2023/24 season.
Matip will turn 33 in August and coming off the back of knee surgery, there’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player he was prior to the surgery.
As such, and given all of the factors involved, it’s entirely conceivable that Reds owners FSG allow Matip to leave as a free agent when his deal expires on June 30.
However, when speaking in a press conference on Friday morning, Klopp suggested Liverpool “will show their class” when hinting Matip SHOULD be offered a new deal.
“I’m pretty sure the club will show their class,” said Klopp (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo). “We have to make a decision with Joel with how things look after that.”
Klopp was again asked about Matip’s future and when quizzed directly on if a new deal is possible, replied: “I would say so but it’s not my decision.”
The decision will ultimately be FSG’s to make, though Klopp has made his position clear well ahead of time and turned the spotlight on the American owners.
Liverpool eyeing centre-back additions
Liverpool were widely believed to be willing to sign a new centre-half next summer, even before Matip’s injury blow.
According to The Sun, Liverpool could be ready to fast-forward their plans and make the addition in January.
The Reds remain well-stocked at centre-half through Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah.
However, Quansah lacks experience having played less than 20 senior matches and Gomez is often required to cover the full-back positions.
The Sun claimed Wolfsburg’s Maxence Lacroix and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi are on the Reds’ radar. TEAMtalk has confirmed Liverpool’s interest in Guehi, but we’ve been told Palace will resist a mid-season sale.
In any case, Klopp appeared to dampen expectations regarding Liverpool signing a new centre-back later in his press conference.
Klopp on replacing Matip in January
Responding to a probe about replacing Matip with a new signing, Klopp said: “You always talk about transfers like it is the easiest thing in the world.
“They all cost money, it must be the right player. We still have four centre-backs. Tell me a club which wants to sell a top, top centre-halve. Tell me one.”
Klopp later added: “Is [Liverpool’s centre-back situation] now perfect? As long as we can go with those four [centre-backs].
“If not, then it will be a bit more tricky with the amount of games coming up. It was never wonderland when you bring a world-class centre-back until the other one is fit again.
“As long as other clubs don’t put them under the Christmas tree for us and say ‘Take it and use it for as long as you need it’… I didn’t really think about it yet because it was only five days since we had that problem.
“I don’t think so, to be honest.”
Liverpool have often kept their cards close to their chest with regards to moves in the market. Indeed, little was known in the public domain of their pursuit of Cody Gakpo last winter before the deal was on the cusp of being announced.
As such, Klopp’s suggestion Liverpool won’t strike next month should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt.