Premier League • England

Liverpool now ‘expected’ to make move to sign £39m star who doesn’t play in midfield as Klopp addresses next priority

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the final whistle in the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrating

Signing a defender remains on the agenda for Liverpool this summer and a report has reiterated that Goncalo Inacio is a target they could bid for.

The priority right now for Liverpool is to sign a defensive midfielder after they began the season without a replacement for Fabinho. However, adding to their backline is also something they might want to address.

Their starters against Chelsea on Sunday for their Premier League opener were Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate. Backup options Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were unused substitutes, while Leeds United target Nat Phillips was out of the squad altogether.

Matip is into the final year of his contract and, like new club captain Van Dijk, is above the age of 30. Therefore, there could be room for a long-term successor to arrive in defence.

And according to Football Insider, Liverpool are ‘expected’ to make a move for a defender before the transfer window closes.

The top target that gets a reference in the report is Inacio, who plays for Sporting CP. The 21-year-old made 52 appearances for his club last season and earned his first two senior caps for Portugal earlier this year.

Although he is still under contract in Lisbon until 2026, there is reportedly a release clause worth around £39m in his contract. If Liverpool put that money on the table, Sporting cannot say no.

In theory, Inacio could reject Liverpool still, but his feelings on the potential transfer are not yet known. Likewise, whether Liverpool intend to meet his exit clause or use a different negotiating tactic remains to be seen.

Inacio could bring balance to Liverpool defence

They have turned to the Portuguese market in recent years for the additions of attackers Luis Diaz from Porto and Darwin Nunez from Benfica. The only Portuguese player in their squad at present is fellow forward, Diogo Jota.

Inacio could have a chance to join his compatriot if Liverpool firm up their interest in him. One factor worth mentioning is that he is a left-footed defender, which is a profile of player Liverpool do not have in the centre of their backline.

Indeed, Van Dijk is usually stationed to the left of their centre-back pairing, but he is right-footed. Thus, Inacio could provide further balance to the department.

He would be the first left-footed centre-half to appear for Liverpool since Ragnar Klavan in the 2017-18 season, since Ben Davies never played after joining from Preston North End in 2021.

Liverpool may have some alternative targets up their sleeve in case a deal for Inacio does not come off. But he seems to be their preferred candidate if they decide to add another defender to their squad in the next couple of weeks.

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