John Aldridge believes Liverpool will have to “do something” in the January window after their “gamble” not to replace Dejan Lovren backfired.
Lovren left in the summer for Zenit St Petersburg in a £10.9m deal, and Jurgen Klopp opted not to replace the Croatian.
Now the champions’ central defensive options are stretched after Virgil van Dijk tore his ACL in the derby with Everton.
Former Reds striker Aldridge now says Klopp has to find the right player in January and the 62-year-old says Kalidou Koulibaly could well be that man.
It’s claimed signing a new centre-half was always in Klopp’s thinking. However, the initial plan was to make their move in summer 2021.
However, Ian McGarry claims Klopp has now asked the Liverpool board to bring forward that plan to January in light of Van Dijk’s setback.
Furthermore, the transfer expert claims Klopp has firmly identified RB Leipzig’s Upamecano as his No 1 target.
Speaking on The Transfer Window podcast, McGarry has explained why he expects movement in January.
“What we have learned from our sources here at Transfer Window HQ is that Dayot Upamecano is Liverpool’s first choice in terms of a new centre-half to buy.”
Aldridge though wants a more experienced replacement and has called for Napoli defender Koulibaly to plug the gap.
Aldridge told the Liverpool Echo: “It’s a bit unfortunate now that we let Dejan Lovren go because even though you always felt he had the odd mistake in him, he would have been useful to have as back up.
“But we haven’t [signed back up] and will have to make the best of it.
“We’ve got Fabinho who can drop in and even Jordan Henderson at a push, but the thing with Van Dijk is he makes everyone alongside him look a better player.
Van Dijk is ‘irreplaceable’
“All over the field we’ve got some top, top players but if there was one player out of them all who you wouldn’t want to be without for any length of time, it’s the big man.
“He’s played virtually every minute of every game since he arrived and is irreplaceable. It’s a big problem for Liverpool, there’s no sugar-coating it.
“What we’ve got to do between now and January 1st is make sure we score more than whoever we’re playing – which we can do with our firepower – and, then even though it won’t be easy for Jurgen to find the right player, go into the transfer market to buy a defender.
“Koulibaly from Napoli would be the one for me, although he doesn’t really tick a lot of the boxes in terms of age and what he would cost.
“But I really think the club is going to have to try and do something, given how long Virgil’s likely to be out for, [Joel] Matip and [Joe] Gomez’s injury record and the fact we only had three senior centre-halves to start with because they took a gamble on not buying a replacement for Lovren.”