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Liverpool 'to prioritise defensive signings in summer transfer window'

Liverpool 'to prioritise defensive signings in summer transfer window'
© Reuters
Liverpool reportedly plan to prioritise defensive signings in the summer transfer window amid links with Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi and Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo.

Liverpool chiefs have reportedly made defensive signings a priority for the upcoming transfer window.

The Reds failed to bolster their backline ahead of the 2023-24 season, having focussed their efforts on rebuilding an ageing midfield as Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain departed.

Liverpool's first transfer window under ex-sporting director Jorg Schmadtke was a successful one, as despite being forced to give up their pursuit of Jude Bellingham, four new lynchpins arrived in the shape of Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch and Dominik Szoboszlai.

The experienced Endo has been deployed as a centre-back during his career, but the Japan international has instead excelled in the number six role at Anfield, leaving Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate to carry out defensive duties most weeks.

Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez are also available centrally to Jurgen Klopp, and the former has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2023-24, but Gomez has often been utilised out wide owing to full-back injuries.

Liverpool's Joel Matip receives medical attention after sustaining an injury on December 3, 2023© Reuters

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have both spent a number of weeks in the treatment room this term, while Joel Matip is out of contract this summer and will not play again before the season is over due to his ACL injury.

After Matip's crushing diagnosis, Klopp suggested that the Cameroonian would be in line for a contract extension, but as things stand he will be clearing out his locker at the end of the campaign.

According to Football Insider, the Reds will therefore make defensive reinforcements their number one priority ahead of the 2023-24 season, and the hierarchy will address the centre-back situation first and foremost.

While Van Dijk and Konate have earned numerous plaudits this season, the former will turn 33 in July, while Konate has a history of muscular injuries from his time at RB Leipzig and Liverpool.

The Premier League leaders are believed to be running the rule over a couple of targets close to home in Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo and Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi, the former of whom could be available on a free transfer this summer.

Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi on September 30, 2023© Reuters

However, Liverpool could be quoted north of £60m for ex-Chelsea man Guehi, whose deal at Selhurst Park runs for another two years, and Manchester United may rival the Reds for his services.

Across Europe, Sporting Lisbon's Goncalo Inacio, Lille's Leny Yoro and Bayer Leverkusen's Piero Hincapie are believed to be admired by the powers-that-be at Anfield, who also hope to persuade the latter's manager Xabi Alonso to take the reins from Klopp as their new head coach.

Before ramping up their search for on-field additions or Klopp's successor, though, Liverpool will address their sporting director position, which has been vacant since Schmadtke's short-term stint came to an end in January.

Leverkusen's Simon Rolfes, Nice's Florent Ghisolfi and ex-AC Milan chief Frederic Massara are all thought to be on Liverpool's radar, and the club hope to complete their hiring process by the end of March.

On the back of winning the EFL Cup for a record-extending 10th time, Liverpool are back in knockout action on Wednesday evening, hosting Southampton in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

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