Liverpool include controversial option in four-man defender shortlist as proposed Klopp revamp starts to take shape

Antonio Silva challenging Nuno Mendes

Liverpool have reportedly compiled a four-man defender shortlist for the summer as Jurgen Klopp begins a proposed revamp of his side after a huge drop-off in performance this season.

Klopp’s men have a disastrous domestic season so far, sitting 10th in the Premier League and also out of both domestic cup competitions. However, they do have a Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid to look forward to.

Rumours have been rife about Klopp’s future and whether he will be given the chance to rebuild at Anfield. Indeed, reports on Saturday suggested that the German has already opened talks about taking over at Real Madrid.

However, there is no real feeling that FSG are ready to pull the plug on Klopp. Indeed, we reported recently that if he does quit Merseyside it will be on his own terms.

Klopp’s love for the club and the city of Liverpool appears to suggest that he will look for an overhaul of an aging Reds squad going forwards.

And according to FootballTransfers that starts with his defence, with four names linked with an Anfield switch.

The report claims that RB Leipzig’s outstanding Josko Gvardiol, Benfica star Antonio Silva, Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio and Toffees star Jarrad Branthwaite are all on the club’s radar.

The quartet mentioned are all in their 20s and viewed as long-term options. But it’s the Branthwaite name that is particularly eye-catching – especially as it’s been mooted on the eve of a Merseyside derby.

The 20-year-old is currently on loan at Eredivise giants PSV and has excelling in the Dutch league.

Van Nistelrooy raves over Liverpool target

Indeed, his performances have also seen Manchester United linked. With PSV boss and former Red Devils striker Ruud van Nistelrooy raving about the player.

Branthwaite recently scored two early goals in a cup game for PSV to leave Van Nistelrooy purring. He said: “He is a great talent. The boy is 20, but he has a future.

“He is good on the ball, can play on the left or the right of centre-back because he is two-footed. He has height and speed, so he is very complete.”

Branthwaite would certainly be an addition pull of potential for the Reds. However, the chances of Everton actually do business with their rivals appears highly unlikely.

As for Gvardiol, the big Croatian enjoyed an outstanding World Cup but has a whopping exit clause of €110m.

Silva is represented by super agent Jorge Mendes and is expected to move to England soon. To that end, he could be an easier acquisition for the Reds.

Inacio has played almost every league game for Sporting this season. However, it’s thought that making that step up from the Portuguese top flight to the Premier League could be a tougher proposition.

Much now depends on what happens with Klopp’s future between now and the end of the current campaign. But either way, Liverpool are in desperate need of some fresh young talent in order to get back to where they want to be.

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