Liverpool may have to swap Champions League hero for Bundesliga defensive target

Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk posts recovery update

Liverpool’s pursuit of Schalke defender Ozan Kabak might see them include Divok Origi as part of any proposed deal. The Bundesliga side are bracing themselves for a bid and are expected to ask for the out-of-favour striker in return.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is contemplating defensive reinforcements for his side this January after seeing his backline ravaged by injury this season.

Among the names rumoured to be on the club’s shortlist is highly-rated Turkish defender Kabak who is likely to cost around £22million. 

Kabak joined Schalke from fellow Bundesliga side Stuttgart in the summer of 2019, having only moved to Germany from Galatasaray six months earlier. 

The centre-back had previously captained Turkey Under-17s at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.

With Schalke currently bottom of the Bundesliga table, Kabak could be tempted with a switch to the Premier League champions. 

At just 20, he would fit the profile of Liverpool signings as a long-term prospect at the club. 

However, the German side are said to want a part-exchange deal rather than straight cash for the player. 

The Telegraph reports they will ask for Belgian striker Origi, whose time at Anfield could soon be coming to an end. 

Origi, 24, has been at Anfield since joining the club from Lille in 2014.

Despite struggling to establish himself in the first team, the striker earned hero status at Anfield following his two goals in the stunning Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona in 2019.

Origi also got on the scoresheet in the final as Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 to win their sixth European crown. 

However, he returned to playing a bit-part role at Anfield having failed to displace the established front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. 

This season, Origi has made just two substitute appearances in the league totalling less than ten minutes of football. 

The player does have Bundesliga experience having played on loan for Wolfsburg during the 2017/18 campaign, scoring six times. 

With the established front three and competition with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino for a place even on the bench, Origi could be persuaded to move on in exchange for Kabak.

The Reds desire for a centre-back has become more pressing this season having lost Virgil van Dijk to an anterior cruciate ligament injury earlier this season.

Van Dijk is expected to be out for the rest of the campaign following a clash with Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby in October. 

Joe Gomez is also out with a long-term knee problem picked up on England duty in November.

Liverpool opted to sell Dejan Lovern in the summer without bringing in a replacement and with concerns over Joel Matip’s fitness, a new player in the position is a priority for Klopp.

Midfielder Fabinho has been deputising in the role so far this season. 

Source: Read Full Article