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Why Liverpool could sign Manchester United's reported target, Kostas Manolas

olive paul
ANALYST
Feature
2.07K   //    10 Jan 2019, 21:52 IST

Kostas could ease Liverpool's squad crisis
Kostas could ease Liverpool's squad crisis

With successive defeats to Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and in the midst of a defensive crisis, there is serious concern that Liverpool's Premier League title challenge could be derailed.

Klopp is facing concern over his defense, with Virgil van Dijk currently Liverpool’s only fit senior centre back.

Dejan Lovren was subbed after six minutes with a hamstring injury in the FA Cup defeat to Wolves. He could be out for six weeks, and Liverpool’s other two centre-backs, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, are also in the treatment room. It is believed both Gomez and Matip may not return until February, depending on how rehabilitation goes.

This has put Klopp in a significant hole as they head into an intense period of fixtures. As things stand, Klopp will have to pick one of the most makeshift teams of his tenure.

With a worrying shortage of experienced cover, Klopp could be forced to field Fabinho as a makeshift partner for Van Dijk. Ki-Jana Hoever, the 16-year-old centre back who became Liverpool's youngest player in FA Cup history, might be too inexperienced to put into the midst of a title challenge.

There is no message, only the reality. Liverpool's hierarchy is well aware of the current squad situation, and the expectation is that they would reinforce their defense with a quality centre back.

Klopp could be forced to field Fabinho as a makeshift partner for Van Dijk
Klopp could be forced to field Fabinho as a makeshift partner for Van Dijk

January is far from the ideal time for clubs to do business, as sides are often reluctant to part with their most-prized assets midway through the season, with little time to source replacements.

However, one player that appears to be realistically attainable for Liverpool is Roma defender, Kostas Manolas. With a release clause of £30.5 million, the centre-back represents real value for money. A number of clubs have been heavily linked with him in recent months, most notably - Solskjaer's Manchester United.

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During his four seasons with Roma, the Greek international has emerged as one of the finest defenders in European football.

Tall, strong, powerful, and an all-around defender blessed with pace, qualities that would serve him well in the fast-paced Premier League.

In essence, Manolas is a good old-fashioned centre-back with a fondness for tackling. The defender averaged 1.54 tackles, 2.21 interceptions, 1.05 fouls, 5.37 clearances and 1.1 blocks per game (189 matches) for Roma, according to whoscored.com.

It's not hard to envision Liverpool falling significantly off the pace if they fail to bolster their defense in January. It would be a surprise if Klopp does not raid Roma for Manolas, ending the defensive crisis.

Whether that would be enough to clinch glory over Manchester City remains to be seen. But it would definitely provide Van Dijk with a world-class partner.

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