Liverpool currently boast the Premier League’s top defence, conceding only 18 goals in 21 games. Despite this, Jurgen Klopp is actively working to refreshing his squad, with potential changes on the horizon.
A new center-half is at the forefront of Liverpool’s shopping list. The pursuit of a replacement for Joel Matip began even before his unfortunate season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in early December, mainly due to his contract expiring in the summer. While Matip, set to turn 33 in August, may receive a contract extension for the next season but Liverpool remain keen on securing an additional option at center-half.
Captain Virgil van Dijk, who will be 33 in July, continues to showcase exceptional defensive prowess. Nonetheless, Liverpool recognise the necessity of acquiring another center-half to strengthen their defensive lineup.
Last summer, Liverpool aimed to make strategic moves in the transfer market during a comprehensive midfield overhaul. However, the club faced challenges in finding the right player at the right price.
Joe Gomez has emerged as a key asset for Liverpool, showcasing his versatility by excelling in the roles of centre-half, right-back, and left-back. Jarell Quansah’s contributions have further diminished the team’s urgency to explore new options, providing reliable backup and easing the pressure to make hasty market moves.
Even with the absence of the experienced Matip, Liverpool maintain the best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding a mere 18 goals in 21 games. This stands as a significant indicator for any team vying for a title, surpassing Arsenal with 20 goals conceded and Manchester City with 23.
According to Mirror Football, player who Liverpool are placing as prime target to replace Matip is Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi, a 23-year-old who has thrived at Selhurst Park, proving himself as a Premier League performer and earning international recognition under Gareth Southgate.
However, any potential deal with Guehi would have to wait until the summer, as Palace would be unlikely to part with him mid-season, especially with their Premier League status at risk unless presented with an extraordinary offer.
Another impending concern for Liverpool is the future of Mohamed Salah, who has entered the final 18 months of his contract. The club is keen on securing a contract extension to prevent losing him on a free transfer in July 2025.
With Salah turning 32 in the summer, there’s a potential dilemma for Liverpool, as selling him this summer becomes a consideration. Yet, the challenge remains: how does one replace a player who has contributed 204 goals since joining the team in 2017?
At this juncture, the inquiry about Liverpool’s squad dynamics remains for future contemplation. Currently, the club perceive that the balance within their team is such that senior players are actively guiding their younger counterparts.
This dynamic diminishes Liverpool’s urgency to engage in the transfer market. Pep Lijnders, Jurgen Klopp’s second in command, asserts that experienced players such as Salah and van Dijk play a pivotal role in nurturing the progress of emerging talents like Quansahs and Conor Bradleys.
“I always believe in that because senior pros act differently when they’re around young players, the Milners, the Mo Salahs, they act differently when there are young players around.
“If you have all 25 and 26 years old in your squad, fighting for the same spot, I tell you that is not a healthy squad. But if you have senior players, they are almost like coaches to the younger ones. I believe one of our strengths is winning together, everyone feels involved.”