Liverpool 'have RB Leipzig defender Upamecano as TOP defensive target'

Liverpool ‘have RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano as their TOP defensive target’ after Joe Gomez joins Virgil van Dijk on the sidelines with a major knee injury

  • Liverpool have been rocked by defender Joe Gomez’s knee injury this week
  • Jurgen Klopp has a shortlist of targets as he weighs up a move for a centre-back
  • He has reportedly made RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano his No 1 target 

Premier League champions Liverpool have been drawing up a list of defensive targets after being left stunned by Joe Gomez’s season-ending injury on international duty with England.

Gomez and Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool’s main centre-back pairing – are both facing battles to play again this season as Jurgen Klopp’s men bid to defend their Premier League title.

Their absences could force Klopp into the January transfer window and, according to The Athletic, RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano has been at the top of his wishlist for a new defender.

Liverpool’s top defensive target is RB Leipzig and France defender Dayot Upamecano

Klopp has a shortlist of options after injuries to centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez got a major knee injury on international duty with England that needed surgery

The publication adds that Klopp had initially planned to make a move for the 22-year-old at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, so it remains to be seen if his plans are brought forward by the current injury crisis.

Upamecano has a contract until 2023 with the German side but has a clause in the deal that will allow him to leave for £38m next summer. 

Liverpool are familiar with Leipzig after their protracted negotiations to sign Naby Keita – they missed out on him in the summer of 2017 but eventually struck a deal in that window to bring him to Anfield in 2018. They not only paid his £48m release clause a year early but also a premium to ensure they got their man.

The Athletic also state that Brighton’s Ben White, Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Tonrino’s Bremer are on Klopp’s shortlist.

Liverpool will almost certainly face a major battle to land Upamecano, with Bayern Munich said to be lining up a move with their interest spelling the end of Jerome Boateng’s time at the club.

Manchester United have also long been linked with a move for the France international as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s long-term rebuilding plans at Old Trafford. 

Schalke defender Ozan Kabak (right) has also been linked with making a move to join Liverpool

Gomez joins Virgil van Dijk on the sidelines – the Dutchman was injured in Merseyside derby

But for now, Klopp has to keep his threadbare defence ticking over as best as possible ahead of a bumper run of fixtures.

Joel Matip has just returned to fitness while Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams are vying to establish themselves as his defensive partner while Fabinho is recovering from a hamstring problem.

They return to Premier League action on November 21, hosting early leaders Leicester at Anfield. 

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