Liverpool backed to ‘spend a lot of money’ to sign Dayot Upamecano in January

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol believes RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano is the player Jurgen Klopp must sign to solve his defensive crisis. Liverpool could be without both of their first-choice central defenders for the remainder of the season. Virgil van Dijk suffered an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury in last month’s Merseyside derby draw at Everton.

Joe Gomez has now suffered a knee injury of his own, though Liverpool hope the England international could feature towards the end of the season.

When asked if Liverpool’s chances of retaining the Premier League title had dropped, Nicol admitted it looks increasingly unlikely.

And he reckons, because of Gomez’s previous problems with injury, it is time the Reds looked at a long-term replacement, naming Upamecano as the ideal candidate.

“Oh my goodness, [Liverpool’s title chances] drop a good 20, 25 per cent from where they were without Van Dijk,” Nicol said on ESPN FC.

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“I think right now Liverpool absolutely, because of this injury, have to go out and spend a lot of money.

“Joe Gomez, at 23 years of age, has already had two major surgeries. That means the chances of it happening again rise.

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“You’re talking about percentages of Liverpool defending [the title], you talk about percentages of a player having another bad injury.

“So I think this forces them into it and they should go and get Upamecano.”

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Upamecano has become one of Europe’s top young centre-backs in the last couple of seasons.

European football expert Julien Laurens also named the 21-year-old as a potential target for Liverpool if the club choose to bring forward their transfer plans to January.

Laurens said: “I think now with Gomez’s injury, and unfortunately for him it looks like it’s a very serious one, even if Fabinho comes back soon which should be the case, I don’t think it’s enough for the objectives and ambitions that Liverpool have this season.

“Let’s not forget as well that with [Joel] Matip’s age and Van Dijk’s age as well, there was going to be a point where they would have had to go and get another centre-back anyway for the years to come.

“So I think you just move that up if you can in January and then either you go for someone that will help you and is maybe more of a short or mid-term solution, or you go for a long-term solution who’s much younger and maybe more expensive, like Upamecano for example, and you invest as heavily as early as January.”

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