Liverpool in contact with free-agent defender amid double Klopp concern

Date published: Monday 25th January 2021 11:17 - James Marshment

Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Alexandre Lacazette TEAMtalk

Liverpool have reportedly made a move to sign former Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos on a free transfer as they bid to bring in defensive reinforcements.

The Reds have seen their defensive options hugely impacted this season after serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Jurgen Klopp has also been further frustrated by Joel Matip’s ongoing injury problems.

Indeed, their lack of options there has led to Jamie Carragher suggesting they face a huge fight to finish in the top four.

Fabinho has been forced to fill in at the back, with Jordan Henderson too often called upon.

However, Henderson’s absence, together with Matip’s failure to even make the squad, leaves Klopp with a problem. Spending their way out of trouble this month has already been ruled out by owners FSG, Klopp has confirmed.

“Of course somebody else is making the decisions. It was always like this.

“We discuss the situation pretty much on a daily basis, could we improve something or not and we make recommendations but I cannot spend the money. I never did.

“I don’t want to confuse anybody. I’ve just said what I said.”

However, the chance to sign players on a free has not been ruled out. Indeed, Monday’s Paper Talk claimed Klopp has warned his bosses not to miss out on a rare opportunity over a Bayern Munich star.

To that end, Klopp also wants Liverpool to bring in another defender in Sokratis, who is also a free agent. The defender last week left Arsenal after failing to figure under Mikel Arteta this season.

The Greece star has been linked with Real Betis, while Olympiacos in his homeland have also been mentioned.

However, The Athletic claims Liverpool have now made contact with Sokratis over a potential free-transfer to Anfield.

They claim Rhys Williams’ difficult afternoon against Manchester United on Sunday has convinced Klopp that he needs more experience. Furthermore, the fact that Matip remains on the injury sidelines have convinced him he has to act.

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Klopp knows Sokratis well

Indeed, a trusted transfer source reported last week that Klopp had been offered Sokratis on a short-term deal.

The 32-year-old is well known to Klopp from their days together at Borussia Dortmund.

The German signed him for the Bundesliga club in 2013 and enjoyed a close relationship for two seasons before the boss left for Liverpool.

Sokratis is known for his fiery nature and indeed, Klopp once joked he ‘wanted to kill’ the defender.

Sokratis himself laughed off the comments and, speaking in 2019, said he took Klopp’s comments as a compliment.

“I took what Jurgen said as a ­compliment, of course,” he said. “I had a good relationship with him, having played for him at Dortmund. He was very good with me.”

The Athletic adds that while Liverpool are keen, they are yet to open formal talks with the player over a move. But something could emerge this week with Klopp keen to strengthen his options and address a problematic area for Liverpool.

READ MORE: Mourinho warned as Klopp clamps down on Man Utd error Liverpool will correct


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