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There's no easy solution to defensive woes: Klopp

Pool boss battling for reinforcement after Matip adds to injury headache

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Familiar story: Joel Matip is the latest defender to pick up an injury

Familiar story: Joel Matip is the latest defender to pick up an injury

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Familiar story: Joel Matip is the latest defender to pick up an injury

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepts no club is prepared to sell him an "£80m centre-back" in the final days of the transfer window, but he is intent on trying to find a long-term solution to a problem area.

New injuries to Joel Matip and Fabinho, in addition to the long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, mean the Reds boss not only has no fit senior central defenders to play against West Ham but his first-choice back-up is also out.

Having gone through most of January suggesting it was unlikely there would be any activity in the market, Matip's ankle ligament injury sustained in Thursday's win at Tottenham - which Klopp hopes is not serious - means there is now a concerted effort to bring in cover.

However, Klopp is not really interested in a short-term fix, as was evident when he failed in a bid for Van Dijk in the summer of 2017 but waited and successfully got his man, for a then world-record transfer fee for a defender, six months later.

"I am not sure there is an £80m centre-back available at the moment and a club thinks, 'We can get £80m for him so we will sell him'," said Klopp.

"I don't think that's the case. Actually, pretty much I know. This calibre of player, the teams would not sell them now.

"We need to find the right player and one which suits our financial situation, that's clear as well."

Klopp denies their stance has changed but the tone of the conversation over a January signing has certainly altered over the last few days.

"My thoughts didn't change, my words might have. It's the same situation as before," added Klopp.

"We work on this, we don't always have training and press conferences but if we don't sleep, we work. That's what we have done all the time. We will see.

"Everything is long-term, apart from when we bring in a player for the next six months and that would be short-term - and had one half-year contract with Steven Caulker (in January 2016).

"It's about a solution, that's the first thing, and that's what we are working on.

"Everyone thinks, 'Oh, Liverpool is just fine with the situation and they don't try'. We try.

"The situation yesterday (with Matip) didn't make it easier but it is just still we try to do the right things if that's possible."

Liverpool are awaiting a further medical update on Matip as he has yet to go for a scan.

However, the Cameroonian is set for a spell on the sidelines and with Fabinho out of tomorrow's trip to West Ham, Klopp will have to field a 12th different starting centre-back partnership in their 21st Premier League match.

"Last night, after the game, especially with that (Matip injury), I was pretty emotional," added Klopp, referring to his description of the defender's injury as "serious".

"Now there are still glimpses of hope that it's not serious. We don't have the final result because the scan hasn't happened yet so we'll know more in three or four hours hopefully.

"Fabinho (however), no chance for the weekend."

West Ham v Liverpool

London Stadium, Sunday, 4.30pm

Belfast Telegraph


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