Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been in absolutely scintillating form this season. On the attack, they look like a fearsome unit that is capable of wrecking havoc on any defence in the Premier League. Clearly, going front they don’t have many problems. But it’s at the back where they’ve found themselves lacking vigour and character.
Liverpool have leaked unnecessary goals at times and this had lead to several dropped points, without which they could’ve been leading the table by a mile now. But their tendency to err at the back has cost them on more than one occasion this season. Such issues have seen them linked with a defender or two to bolster their ranks.
Jamaal Lascelles of Newcastle has been named as a potential target for the club. But with Newcastle pushing for promotion quite strongly, it’s clear that former Reds manager Rafa Benitez would be averse to sanctioning the move. Lascelles has impressed strongly for the Toon who have found their stride in recent weeks. He initially made a name for himself at the Championship level with Nottingham Forest and it’s no clear as to why Newcastle signed him in the first place.
If a move for Lascelles does not materialise, Liverpool must not give up there. As they definitely need a defender to strengthen their ranks. Ragnar Klavan was brought in during the summer from Augsburg. Klopp viewed the Estonian as a cheaper alternative to other players. He has done quite well, but they could certainly do with more quality at the back. Mamadou Sakho’s days at the club appear to be numbered too, paving the door open for a few arrivals.
Here are 3 alternatives to Jamaal Lascelles that Klopp should consider –
Gimenez is a typical Uruguayan defender: rugged, uncompromising, aggressive and tough. But he has the technical ability to match his aggressiveness in the air and in the tackle. Plus, he plays with confidence and maturity belying his years. He is still only 21 but already has considerable experience with the Atletico Madrid first team since arriving as a teenager from Uruguayan club Danubio.
Recently, he has been ousted from the first team picture at Atletico Madrid, due to the formidable partnership of Stevan Savic and fellow Uruguayan Diego Godin. Such circumstances might see him being made available in the shop window especially as the player will want a new challenge. Giminez will certainly fit into Klopp’s style at Liverpool. At such a young age, he will relish playing under Klopp and this could be the making of a real top defender.
Tah moved to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2015 from Hamburg and has since gone on to establish himself as the best young centre-back in Germany. As a modern defender, he has excellent distribution and confidence to bring the ball out from defence, something Klopp will truly relish.
At 190.5 cm (6′ 3″), Tah is very strong and fast, making him a difficult proposition for opposing strikers to overcome. Still only 20, Tah looks he could be the next big thing to come out of German football. He has already been called up to the National team and was even part of the Euro 2016 squad that finished the tournament as semi-finalists. Jurgen Klopp would truly enjoy nurturing the talents of a young German international and Jonathan Tah fits the bill perfectly. After all, he has all the characteristics to be successful in the Premier League.
Riedewald is another off the Ajax production line. He is intelligent on and off the ball and is able to combine this with his agility and speed. All qualities that will see him fit into Liverpool effortlessly. This makes him one of the top young centre-halves in Europe and Klopp should look to bring him in to ease his side’s defensive woes.
He has been compared to Dutch legend Frank Rijkaard for a reason and should the 20-year-old continue to improve over the next couple of seasons, it would not be surprising to see him turn out for Barcelona. He would fit in there perfectly no doubts about that, but Liverpool should look to bring him in before the other top sides come in for his services. His ability to play at left-back might also appeal to Liverpool, who have been depending on the versatile feet of James Milner to do a job there.