The sporting world was in shock this past weekend after Virgil van Dijk hobbled off the pitch during the Merseyside derby. The Dutchman has been the most important player for Liverpool over the past two seasons, but will now be out for the remainder of this season.
Van Dijk will be an impossible player to replace in the back four for the Reds, and with the transfer window having only just shut, they will be forced to battle through the next two months without the vital player. But, if the club are still in the hunt for the top prizes in January, will we see the club invest in a new central defender?
Liverpool’s Success Built On Defence
All of the attacking players at the club get all the attention and all are needed to win another Premier League title, but it has been the defence that Jurgen Klopp has built the title-winning side on. Liverpool conceded just 33 goals in 38 games last season, which was the best defensive record in the league. The tally that they conceded could have been lower than that too, but they were without first-choice stopper Alisson Becker for long stretches of the season.
The ever-present in that team was van Dijk, who has played the last 130 games for the club. During that time, the Reds have lost just 22 times and have won 92 times. The impact of the Dutchman is huge, as that means the club boasts a 71% win-rate when the central defender is playing.
Taking that type of presence out of the team will have a massive impact, and we will see the first signs of that over the course of the next couple of Liverpool fixtures. However, they will remain among the favourites to defend their Premier League title with Caesars Sportsbook.
Who Could Liverpool Look To Bring In?
The January transfer window is only a few months away, which means that the club will have an excellent chance to bring in a new player if the players at the club don’t take their chance to fill the position left by the Dutchman. That burden will likely fall on the shoulders of Joe Gomez, but the Englishman isn’t enjoying the best of seasons. Gomez was part of the back four that saw Liverpool lost 7-2 at Aston Villa before the international break.
Business is tough at the best clubs in the country, which means that there will be no room for errors. If Gomez doesn’t take his chance, then Klopp could have two huge targets in mind to fill the void. Dayot Upamecano has already been linked with a move to Anfield after impressing for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Meanwhile, Liverpool fan Connor Coady from Wolverhampton Wanderers may also be an option after impressing in the three years since Wolves returned to the top-flight. Either way, this looks to be a tricky time to navigate for the Reds, and their grip on the title could be loosened with a leaky defence.