Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool would have to pay ‘crazy money’ to sign new defender

Carl Markham, PA
·4-min read

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits everyone knows who the best centre-backs in the world currently are but their clubs will want “crazy money” to part with them.

The Reds boss suggested £80million would still not be able to buy a central defender to solve the injury crisis his side are experiencing following the loss of Joel Matip and Fabinho in recent days to add to the long-term unavailability of Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez due to serious knee injuries.

Klopp is not really interested in a short-term fix, as was evidenced when he failed in a bid for Van Dijk in the summer of 2017 but waited and successfully got his man, for a then world-record transfer fee for a defender, six months later.

However, even if there was an option available he doubts whether he could secure them.

“You know the situation with centre-halves out there. You know the clubs where the centre-halves are playing because everyone is talking about them,” he said.

“Tell me if one of these clubs needs the money and needs to sell a player? And if they need money, then they want crazy money.

“I am not sure there is an £80million centre-back available at the moment and a club thinks ‘We can get £80m for him so we will sell him’.

“I don’t think that’s the case. Actually, pretty much I know. This calibre of player the teams would not sell them now.

“We need to find the right player and one which suits our financial situation, that’s clear as well.

“We lost probably two of the best centre-halves in the whole market (Van Dijk and Gomez) in a period of six to seven weeks. For the whole season. That’s massive.

“Then you have to find solutions in that moment. The winter transfer market opens and everyone says ‘Now you can do something’. We try.

“We see the situation. We don’t close our eyes. But while we are doing that we have to find solutions and play football and that is what we do.”

Klopp denies their stance over signing a centre-back in January has changed but the tone of the conversation has certainly altered over the last few days.

But even so, it will not help the cause for the trip to West Ham on Sunday, where the manager looks set to start his 12th different central defensive partnership in their 21st Premier League fixture of the season.

Graphic detailing Liverpool's Premier League centre-back pairings this season
On Sunday Liverpool look set to start their 12th different centre-back pairing in the Premier League this season (PA Graphics)

“How we do it is we find solutions for now in this way, so it is now a solution (needed) for Sunday for the West Ham game, that is how we see it,” added the German.

“But in an ideal world it would be that the short-term solution is the long-term solution as well – wow that would be great.

“I don’t know if we can do that, but we will see.”

Klopp left himself with only three senior centre-backs, one of which was the injury-prone Matip, after allowing Dejan Lovren to join Zenit St Petersburg in the summer.

There was always going to be a need to bolster that area but it is a more pressing concern with Van Dijk having only a slight chance of featuring before the end of the campaign and Gomez virtually none.

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez kneels on the pitch in support of Black Lives Matter
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he will be surprised if Joe Gomez plays again this season (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

“Joe Gomez is actually in a pretty good place, but far away from being back,” added Klopp.

“He walks round and looks completely normal, (but) is not yet out on the pitch running or even out of the gym, just a really tough injury as well.

“Will he be available this season? When does the season end, May? It will be close at least I would say.

“I don’t expect (so). I would be positively surprised if he would be back this season to be honest.”