Liverpool could find themselves having to pay over the odds for a new centre-half in January with other teams ‘smelling their desperation’.
That’s the verdict of Jamie Redknapp, who feels it is now certain his former side will splash the cash on a new defender.
That comes after a knee injury ruled Joe Gomez out of England duty.
The 23-year-old centre-back suffered the injury in a training session at St George’s Park.
He has pulled out of the squad to face the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland. He has since returned to his club for further diagnosis.
England boss Gareth Southgate said: “We can’t speculate the exact nature of the injury, it’s not possible until we have seen scans.
“My immediate thoughts are with him because he has had some difficulties with injuries in the past.
“What’s upsetting is he was in a fair bit of pain and there was nobody around him when the injury happened. I don’t see him being involved in the games with us, that’s for sure.
“We are hoping it’s not going to be a long-term one. We just have to wait and see.”
Liverpool released a statement saying that Gomez will “undergo further diagnosis on the issue with Liverpool’s medical team.”
Gomez had been Liverpool’s only fit, senior central defender heading into the international break.
Liverpool could have Joel Matip back for the resumption, while Fabinho – who can play there – should also return.
However, Redknapp reckons Liverpool could find their targets now come with an inflated price.
“I’m choked for Joe Gomez if it is a bad injury,” Redknapp told Sky Sports’ Pitch to Post podcast.
“He’s a young man who has already had knee injuries and come back brilliantly. I’m a big fan of his, he seems like a really good, down to earth player.
“I remember seeing him many years ago playing for Charlton in the FA Youth Cup and thinking ‘this is a star of the future’. He’s certainly proved that at Liverpool. I just hope it’s not going to be anything too serious.
“From an England point of view, it’s a disappointment for Gareth Southgate. But for Jurgen Klopp, if this is a long-term one and you’ve got no Virgil, no Joe Gomez, that puts an enormous amount of stress on this squad.
“It’s certainly going to change things and for everybody else involved. That back two have been so impressive at times.
“It’s not been easy with no Virgil at the moment, but no Virgil and no Gomez is going to make it even more difficult.”
Redknapp on Liverpool transfer plans
When questioned whether Liverpool should dip into the market in January, Redknapp admitted he wasn’t so sure.
“It’s a difficult one. I’ve heard people say that they’ve got to go out and get a really big signing because Virgil is going to be injured,” he said.
“But if he goes through the right rehab to get fit, he’s not going to be too far away from coming back. Maybe he could return in March or April time as a guess.
“Normally it’s six or seven months, he’s an incredibly fit guy and he’ll be a good healer.
“You don’t want to bring in someone for the sake of it for £40m or £50m because you know you’ve got someone coming back really quickly.
“But if you’ve lost Gomez as well, you’re certainly looking to get into the market and try and bring in someone in January.
“Be it a loan, be it a signing – but it’s not going to be easy to get players in.
“Your hands are tied to a certain extent because straight away. Everyone knows you’re desperate so the prices are going to get inflated.
“Liverpool have worked the market so well, they’ve not always bought the big stars, they’ve made then stars. Virgil may be the opposite, they paid £75m for him but what his fee now would be? It’d maybe be three times as much as that; he’s such an incredible player.
“Defenders are at a premium. There’s not many good ones around that can play like Virgil, that can defend like Joe Gomez.
“I really hope it’s weeks rather than months. But I don’t like the rumours that are coming out of the squad.”