Premier League • England

Liverpool can break Tottenham hearts as Klopp targets £80m pair in January after crushing Matip blow

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool could bring forward their plans to sign a new centre-back following Joel Matip’s season-ending knee injury, and a report claims a rapid £30m defender and a £50m Tottenham target are being eyed.

Matip, 32, may have played his last match for Liverpool following the news his ruptured ACL requires surgery to fix. The veteran centre-half picked up the injury in the 4-3 victory over Fulham last weekend. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed his worst fears on Wednesday night, with Matip now ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Matip is out of contract in the summer and will turn 33 in August. As such, it’s entirely conceivable that Liverpool’s decision-makers do not offer the long-serving defender a new contract.

Centre-back is the position Liverpool were expected to address in the summer anyway. However, according to The Sun, Matip’s injury may very well bring the club’s plans forward by six months.

Liverpool have shown a willingness to act early and spring major signings in the winter window in recent years.

Luis Diaz was signed six months early in January of 2022 due to Tottenham enquiring into the player. Cody Gakpo arrived one year later at a time when Manchester United were sizing up the Dutchman.

Per The Sun, Liverpool could ‘fast-forward plans to buy a replacement’ and Liverpool are ‘eyeing a January move’.

£30m speedster and £50m Spurs target eyed

Two players are in their sights – Wolfsburg’s Maxence Lacroix and Crystal Palace ace Marc Guehi.

The latter is a confirmed target of Tottenham’s and Sky Sports reaffirmed on Thursday night that Guehi is wanted in north London.

Spurs have centre-back issues of their own given Micky van de Ven’s hamstring injury. What’s more, Eric Dier is unfancied by Ange Postecoglou and out of contract at season’s end. Tottenham are open to cashing in on Dier while they still can next month.

But per The Sun, it’s Liverpool who could sneak in and lure Guehi to Merseyside rather than across London.

It is acknowledged Palace are reluctant to lose a starting centre-back mid-season. However, The Sun state the Eagles ‘will listen to offers of £50m-plus’. As such, a deal could be there for the making if Liverpool – or Tottenham – are prepared to pay top dollar.

Guehi, 23, is right-footed, though has primarily played on the left side of defence at Selhurst Park. He’s become a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squads through his stellar exploits at club level since his £18m move from Chelsea back in 2021.

Should Guehi leave Palace in 2024, Chelsea will be due a portion of the profits via a sell-on clause.

But if Palace refuse to play ball and Liverpool determine a January addition is a must, Wolfsburg’s Lacroix could represent a more achievable target.

The Frenchman, also 23, is known for being one of the fastest defenders in German football and can also operate at right-back.

Lacroix stands at 6ft 3in tall and per the report, can be signed for £30m. Like Guehi, he can also play on both sides of a centre-back pairing.

DON’T MISS: ‘You big baby!’ – Klopp mocked for stunning outburst with Liverpool boss branded a ‘touchy’ hypocrite