Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not planning to buy a centre-back to cover Joel Matip’s expected absence for the rest of the season but admits the nature of the Premier League means all clubs are “only two injuries away from a real problem”.
Matip’s anterior cruciate ligament injury means Klopp now has five senior players unavailable – Diogo Jota, Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic – with midfielder Alexis Mac Allister doubtful for the weekend trip to Crystal Palace after sustaining a problem in the midweek win over Sheffield United.
In central defence he has Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate – who has had two spells on the sidelines already this season – Joe Gomez and 20-year-old Jarell Quansah.
And amid reports of interest in £30m Wolfsburg star Maxence Lacroix, the Reds boss he reckons his current options will be enough to sustain them providing there are no further setbacks.
Klopp said rival clubs would not be leaving a top-class centre-back “under the Christmas tree for us” so he would likely manage with what he has.
“Everyone talks about us needing another player but they all cost money and they must be the right player,” said Klopp.
“You tell me a club who wants to sell a top centre-half. Not a centre-half but a top centre-half.
“For four or five days we’ve known Joel will be out for a long time and that’s really bad for us but we still have four centre-halves and that’s absolutely alright.
“If we had a fifth centre-half in beforehand it is a completely different team dynamic: when one is not involved, we don’t see steps with him, so it was like it was and it was perfect.
“Is it now perfect? I would say it is as long as we can go with those four, yes. If not then it would be a bit more tricky with the amount of games coming up.
“But it was never wonderland where you bring in a world-class centre-half until the other one is fit again.
“As long as other clubs don’t put them under the Christmas tree for us and say ‘Take it as long as you need it’ I don’t think so (it is likely to buy a player) to be honest.”
No timescale has been put on Matip’s return but with his contract due to expire in the summer, Klopp expects the club to look after the 32-year-old and offer a new deal.
“I would say so but it’s not my decision in the end,” he added.
“I am pretty sure the club will show their class and am pretty sure the club told Joel already that whatever happens as long as he is injured everything is fine.”