Two Free Agents Who Liverpool Can Sign To Solve Their Defensive Crisis
Liverpool were supposed to have a high spending summer transfer window especially after securing a place in the group stages of the prestigious UEFA Champions League competition. Their defence was a major concern as the defensive frailty has cost them big since Klopp’s arrival a couple of years back. The Reds were keen on Southampton centre-back Virgil Van Dijk but failed to land him due to the rigidity of his current employers despite the Dutchman’s transfer request.
Liverpool, although they brought in the likes of wingman Mohamed Salah, young forward Dominic Solanke, left-back Andrew Robertson and attacker Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for this new campaign (also wrapped up a deal for RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita who will be joining the Reds next summer), a central defender was their top-most priority but they failed to recruit one all summer.
The window is closed already and the Reds now will have to approach the free agents if they wish to increase their defensive depth. Despite having a disastrous season opener against Watford where they conceded thrice, their back-line has improved a lot since then and Klopp may not necessarily look to make any further reinforcement prior to January.
He has rather opted to bank on youngster Joe Gomez who is currently enjoying enough first-team experience at the right-back slot in the absence of the injured Nathaniel Clyne. Considering their participation in four major competitions, the Reds, however, might still make a couple of inclusions to have enough defensive cover.
The veteran Frenchman has been released by league counterparts Manchester City upon the expiration of his contract. The 34-year-old former Arsenal right-back will provide enormous experience, which the Reds are going to miss due to Clyne’s long-term back injury. He has not been included in Liverpool’s Champions League squad for the group stages and the pressure will be monumental on the youngs duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez to fill his void.
Sagna can help them in cup games as well as a few Premier League outings until Clyne fully recovers from his injury. Sagna is supposed to be content with a squad role if he wishes to continue at the top level at this age, like veteran Kolo Toure – the Ivorian who earned a cult status during his three eventful campaigns at Liverpool.
The 26-year-old former Bayern Munich star surprised everyone by joining Premier League strugglers Sunderland back in January 2016 on an 18-month contract. The former Germany youth international was lacking game-time in Bundesliga and agreed to explore a new challenge by joining the Premier League. He played a massive part in Sunderland’s ‘lucky escape’ during the 2015-16 season as they managed to avoid a relegation scare. He settled in well in the new surroundings and provided enough defensive reliability with his aerial as well as physical presence, positioning, and experience of highest order.
Kirchhoff, unfortunately, missed out the majority of last season due to a long-lasting knee injury and was released back in July following Sunderland’s demotion to Championship after a shambolic 20th placed Premier League finish. He is now regaining his fitness and is capable of becoming a success under German gaffer Klopp who knows Kirchhoff’s game very well from his Bundesliga days.