Liverpool Transfers: Sven Botman and the Loan Market
Updated: Jan 12
Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and an injury-prone Joel Matip won't cut it at central defence if Liverpool want to compete on all fronts. Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips can step in and perform to a desirable level, but to win a league title, or clinch a European crown, Anfield needs something more.
Injuries have ravaged Jurgen Klopp's squad, and it's starting to take its toll. With away form mirroring those in the second half of the table, it is a wonder they still sit pretty at the top of the tree. It wouldn't be remiss to highlight how Liverpool are a Fabinho injury lay-off from a very, very difficult period. Klopp is a genius, but there's only so much he can do without the necessary tools. We see difficulties panning out now - St Mary's the most recent location, downed by a delectable Danny Ings lob.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's dip in form, the main culprit for Ings' winner, is no coincidence. Not having a Virgil van Dijk type figure next to him has been detrimental. The same can't be said about the Scotsman on the opposing flank with Andrew Robertson's output heading in the other direction. However, he'd likely be performing even better with a familiar centre-back pairing to his right.
In the distance, a match-up with Manchester United lurks poised to act out the most significant game of the season. The result may lay the foundations for which way the Premier League pendulum will swing in 2021. It feels like a throwback. United and Liverpool battling it out at the head of the table.
Reinforcements won't be found in time for the United fixture, but Liverpool's recruitment team do need to get the show on the road - and fast.
Sven Botman to Liverpool
Sven Botman, Lille's Dutch centre-half, has been closely linked with Liverpool over the festive period.
The 20-year-old arrived from Ajax in the summer and has been a storming success in Ligue 1. Have these links been fabricated due to the apparent lack of options at the heart of the defence, or are they genuine? Well, James Pearce moved to rubbish the rumours to Botman over the weekend, claiming that Liverpool officials were baffled with the news. Nevertheless, rumours are circling, and the 6"4 defender was suggested to be on Liverpool's radar.
Regardless of the truth in the rumours, expecting someone to arrive in the Premier League without any experience in England is a daunting task. Touching down in a new country, amid a defensive injury crisis, and lack of a stable centre-back partner is another ball-game entirely.
It is a tricky juggling act for Klopp. He will have to weigh up whether any permanent incomings can rival Gomez in the immediate future to partner Van Dijk. Simultaneously, he will not want to thwart the Englishman's progress. To find someone of that ilk to rival existing talents and be willing to play second fiddle could prove a struggle.
Despite their status and recent success, Liverpool are not awash with money to inject into the transfer market. The extension of Anfield's main stand, coupled with the pandemic's imposing shadow suggests that encouraging defensive solutions to Liverpool could take shape as a loan deal.
Perhaps a loan with an option to buy would suit all involved parties for an out of favour defender, or for a team desperate for an injection of cash before the summer. Such an agreement would provide the chance for a six-month introductory stay under the microscope in Klopp's side. A permanent decision could then be cast upon season completion on the individual's long-term role at the club with the returning Gomez and Van Dijk.
Browsing closer to home than Lille in northern France, there are Premier League options experiencing a lack of minutes. The loan market rarely offers the chance to sign the biggest names in Europe, but that doesn't mean there aren't options to positively aid Klopp's squad.
The young Englishman is out of favour at Stamford Bridge and is way down Frank Lampard's central defensive pecking order. Not likely to turn heads of the top six given his lack of experience, could Liverpool look to take a punt on the Chelsea man? Leeds United and Newcastle United are interested in his services, with both clubs lacking in that department with Robin Koch and Jamaal Lascelles' absences.
Tomori racked up 22 appearances for Chelsea last campaign as the Blues' youth took the mantle amidst a transfer embargo. Comparatively, the centre-back has registered only 45 minutes this term. An inspired Kurt Zouma and an astute signing from Paris in Thiago Silva has kept Tomori firmly at arm's length. Bar an injury crisis similar to what Klopp is dealing with in Liverpool; that is unlikely to change.
A loan move for a young, hungry Englishman to bolster Klopp's back-line could prove a shrewd move for the remainder of the season. It would be perceived as somewhat of a risk given his lack of stature and experience in the Premier League. Still, he did impress enough in England's top-flight to warrant international selection against Kosovo just over one year ago.
Whatever Klopp's approach in January, supporters and backroom staff alike will be hopeful of a solution to present itself. The season could depend on it.