Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has explained why it is unlikely that Jurgen Klopp will sign a new centre-half in the January window.
The Reds have been linked with a plethora of big-name defenders in January as they look to plug two high-profile injuries.
Virgil van Dijk looks set to miss most of the season after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Everton.
That setback has since been compounded with Joe Gomez also suffering what looks to be a season-ending injury.
It’s not just their defenders who have suffered this season either. A report on Saturday revealed one of their top attacking stars will miss Sunday’s game at Fulham and could face a prolonged spell out.
However, it is the holes in defence which many have predicted will lead Liverpool to make a major January transfer splash.
As it goes, fans should probably not expect anyone through the door in January, according to Lijnders.
Indeed, the Liverpool No 2 insists Klopp is far more likely to utilise his squad to plug any gaps in his side.
Both Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams have stepped in admirably when required this season – and that is likely to continue.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, Lijnders insists Liverpool will continue to give youth its chance.
“It’s always like this. But some devastating moments create life-changing moments for other players. We have so much faith in our young blood, in the players we brought up, our own players,” he said.
“These moments where you lose a top, top player automatically creates a big chance for a young player. We invest a lot of time and we have a big commitment to them to be part of our squad.”
Joel Matip and Fabinho are currently Liverpool’s first-choice defensive pairing. Asked what Liverpool would do if either got injured over the festive period, Lijnders was quite clear in his answer.
“What I’m trying to say is: I feel really the best back-up plan is the Academy,” he added. “If the Academy is right and there’s a fluid process between the Academy and the first team, the best back-up plan is always young players because they never let you down – never, never.”
Klopp excited by Oxlade-Chamberlain return
Klopp admits he is really looking forward to the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, labelling the star a “difference-maker” for Liverpool.
The England international is likely to make his first appearance in a matchday squad this season at Fulham on Sunday. That’s owing to the knee injury sustained by Oxlade-Chamberlain during pre-season.
It will be the 27-year-old’s second comeback from a knee problem, although far less serious this time around.
Bizarrely, there were some criticism of the player’s performances after he returned first time around. Klopp, however, insists they were unfair and has given the player a ringing endorsement.
Klopp said: “I don’t understand these kind of discussions to be honest.
“Being compared to the best moment of your career after coming back from an injury is a really dumb thing to do. ‘Oh he’s not that good any more’ – I have no time for that.
“Ox is an outstanding player, an outstanding player, was always and will always be.”