Liverpool transfer focus: Will Jurgen Klopp sign a defender? Plus Gini Wijnaldum's contract latest

Will Jurgen Klopp sign a defender in January? And will Gini Wijnaldum sign a new contract? The Transfer Talk podcast panel talk all things Liverpool.

Liverpool have managed to cope after long-term injuries to central defenders Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk this season, conceding only seven goals in their last 12 games in all competitions.

But will that prevent Klopp from being lured into the January transfer market? Or will Liverpool attempt to get by?

January is also a pivotal month for Wijnaldum’s future at the club; with the Dutchman’s contract up in the summer, he is free to talk with foreign clubs from January 1 onwards.

In the latest Transfer Talk Podcast, Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth and ESPN senior football analyst Gabriele Marcotti discuss what January might look at Anfield…

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Incomings in January?

Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth:

“I think they will be looking in the market. But we shouldn’t be surprised either way if they do or don’t bring in a central defender. Klopp must be quite pleased with how his players have coped with those injuries, particularly in central defence. He has a history of waiting for the right player.

“He’s not a short-term fix manager anymore. I can only see them bringing a player in in that position if one of their long-term targets becomes available. If not, I just wouldn’t be surprised if he continued with Joel Matip, Fabinho, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams.

“Liverpool have managed to cope better than City did last season without Laporte. Fabinho is arguably a better central defender than Fernandinho, and secondly, I think City missed Fernandinho in midfield more than Liverpool are missing Fabinho in midfield.

“Liverpool can still fill their midfield with Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum, and they can give protection to the back four. It highlights that often a defence is only as good as what is in front of it.”

ESPN senior football analyst Gabriele Marcotti:

“The fact Liverpool are joint top of the table tells you a lot about their capacity to absorb these injuries. But obviously they are a better team when they’re not stretched like that, and they’re a better team with Fabinho in midfield.

“Unless Joe Gomez comes back early, I think they should bring in another body. Liverpool are a bit stretched on a cash basis, and they have some contract renewals coming up too.

“I know it’s not something Klopp has done before, but I wonder if this is where you consider going for a short-term move, maybe an 18-month deal for somebody, a veteran player, maybe someone Klopp already knows or has worked with, who can slot in.

“It would have to be something at the right price. That seems to be the logical thing to do, but Klopp has his own logic!”

No outgoings, but Wijnaldum contract key

ESPN senior football analyst Gabriele Marcotti:

“Given the number of games, competitions they’re in, and their injuries, I don’t think we’ll see much movement out of Anfield.

“The one outstanding issue is the Gini Wijnaldum situation. He’ll be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club in January, with his contract up in the summer.

“How often have we seen players frozen out as their contract runs out at clubs? But it’s just not happening with Wijnaldum at Liverpool. Klopp continues to pick him, he scored a brilliant goal against Wolves, and there’s a lot of respect from Klopp to Wijnaldum and the situation he finds himself in.

“Wijnaldum is 30 years old now, and I think Klopp recognises that his next contract is likely to be the biggest of his career, be it at Liverpool or elsewhere. I think Liverpool will want this sorted next month.

“Does he want to go to Barcelona when the management situation at the Nou Camp is so brittle? Is Ronald Koeman going to last the season, and if Koeman is the reason he is wanted at Barcelona, does that impact things?”

How did Liverpool’s youngsters fare at Midtjylland

The average age of Liverpool’s starting XI against Midtjylland was just 24 years and 26 days on Wednesday. It was their youngest line-up in the Champions League.

With top spot in the group and qualification for the knockouts already secured, boss Jurgen Klopp had the luxury of resting some of his regulars and hand out opportunities to some rising stars.

The 1-1 draw turned out to be a good experience for the players involved and here we assess how some of the newer faces fared…

Read more here

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