Champions League

Three center-backs Liverpool could target this window

Liverpool are expected to sign another center back this summer. In this feature, we have a look at three players who could be potential for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp looks to bolster the squad in terms of defense.

Despite Liverpool’s frightening attack, Reds are still in heavy need for another reliable centre back who can partner with Virgil van Dijk. The arrival of van Dijk from Southampton in January saw Liverpool’s backline getting considerably stronger. However consistent injuries to Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren’s crucial mistakes in decisive fixtures have highlighted a need of world class center back for the  Merseysiders.

Liverpool have become successful to capture Naby Keita and Fabinho, and are heading to transfer market looking to inject quality in their defense line. Here are the three options who can complete Liverpool’s backline jigsaw.

#1 Kalidou Koulibaly

Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibly was on Liverpool’s radar last year as an alternative option to van Dijk but an impressive display for Italian side Napoli yet again last season has made him a strong candidate for the Reds to look for. The 26 year old usually plies his trade as an left sided centre back but also can operate from right hand side.

Koulibaly, 6.5, is a tall and strong defender who can play comfortably also in tensed and decisive fixtures. Koulibaly has won 1.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game last season and his defensive heroics became one of the main reasons in Napoli’s runner up finish in Serie A.

Various reports suggest that Chelsea and Barcelona are also tracking the center back. It wouldn’t be a cheap move for the Merseysiders, but will be a fantastic addition to the backline.

#2 Jonathan Tah

German center defender Jonathan Tah has often been applauded as one of the most promising center backs of Europe, and also was linked with the Red half of Merseyside in the past.

The 22 year old Bayer Leverkusen defender enjoyed an impressive campaign last season, making 1.7 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game. Tah is someone who has prodigious talent, especially for his age, and has emerged as the future of the German rearguard.

His defensive qualities have drawn comparions with Bayern Munich and Germany’s star defender Jerome Boateng. It would be a tough transfer saga for the Reds, as the German has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen till 2023 – but would be a stunning recruitment for the long term.

#3 James Tarkowski

James Tarkowski, 25, has furthered his reputation as a rock-solid and calm defender with an immense season for Burnley in the Premier League. Despite being overlooked for the England World Cup squad – he was initially chosen as a stand-by – Tarkowski will attract a lot of suitors this summer.

The Englishman’s statistics of 1.5 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game outlines his defensive potential. His stubborn attitude and relentless work rate was one of the main reasons why Clarets secured Europa League spot next season. It could be an astute signing for the Reds, as  Klopp seeks to add reliability in his defense line.

Author’s Take:

Signing of any of the above defender would add the cherry on top of the cake in Liverpool’s backline. Liverpool unquestionably need a strong defender who can be the ideal foil to van Dijk, and ultimately can increase the chances of silverware for the Reds next season.

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