Jurgen Klopp has exonerated new signing Ozan Kabak of any blame in Schalke’s Bundesliga troubles this season.
The Liverpool boss swooped to land the central defender on Monday night on a loan deal with an option to buy in the summer.
Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip forced the champions’ hand.
It is why the club made a last-minute dip into the transfer market to sign Kabak and Ben Davies from Preston for an initial £500,000.
Davies was somewhat a shock arrival, but Kabak has been linked with Liverpool for some time. The only surprise was that they left it until deadline day to make their move.
Kabak has a wealth of experience after playing for Galatasaray, Stuttgart and Schalke, despite being only 20.
Schalke have struggled this season and Klopp admitted the Bundesliga side, who are bottom, have had “problems”.
The Gelsenkirchen-based side have conceded 49 goal in 19 games and Kabak has started 14 of those games. He missed four games through suspension after he appeared to spit at Werder Bremen’s Ludwig Augustinsson. But has been benched only once this season, Klopp though thinks he has not been at fault.
Klopp said: “In the last few weeks he has had a really tough time. Schalke had a lot of problems this season but that is nothing to do with Ozan.
“He has a lot of quality and he is still a talent. In a stable team he can do a lot of things really good.”
“He’s not here because Wagner was his coach. Whenever he spoke about Ozan it was always positive.
Last few days, we didn’t speak. Everyone knows it all about Ozan. 20, fourth season in pro football. Schalke has a lot of problems but nothing to do with Ozan.
“Ozan is still a talent and has proven a lot. He is here now in a stable team. He can help us and we can help him. Our situation is really strange. We are without our four centre-backs. We needed players.
“At the moment we are without our first four centre-back choices and only one of them will come back in the next weeks and that is Fabinho – and he is a six,” added Klopp.
“Our problem is always if one more thing happens then we don’t know what to do. It is not perfect, the January window is not my favourite window.
Davies gets his chance
“We have solutions here and now we have more options. For both players it is a big chance and for us as well.”
Klopp admits in normal circumstances he would not have gone to the Championship to bring in a player in January but was impressed with what he saw.
“In the last few weeks and days we had to consider our situation and what we had to do,” he said.
“We were always looking all over, in each league in Europe and when I saw Ben it was really interesting. We watched him in a lot of games and saw he is a really good footballer. He knows how to defend.
“I was a second division player myself and we all dreamt of playing in the first league. Ben did that as well and now it is a big opportunity for both sides.
“I am a big believer in opportunities and taking chances. Ben sees it the same way.”