Liverpool are reportedly set to turn to Queens Park Rangers defender Steven Caulker in an attempt to alleviate their issues at the back.
Andy Hunter of the Guardian wrote that the Reds will seek to take the 24-year-old from Southampton, where Caulker is currently on loan, as he’s been unable to force his way into the first team on a regular basis.
As Hunter noted, the last time the former Swansea City man played for Saints was in the 6-1 loss to the Reds in the League Cup quarter-final.
Phil McNulty of BBC Sport also claimed Liverpool have “made an approach” for Caulker over a loan deal that would last for the rest of the season.
Sports journalist Alex Crook doesn’t feel as though getting Caulker in would be the best piece of business by the Reds:
Alex Crook @alex_crook
If #lfc could sign Caulker in time to make his debut v #mufc on Sunday I am sure LVG would be very grateful #saintsfc2016-1-12 09:41:11
However, it’s a case of needs must at the moment for Liverpool. As Hunter reported, manager Jurgen Klopp is currently having to get by without four established centre-backs, with Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure all injured.
With games to come at home to league-leaders Arsenal and bitter rivals Manchester United, it goes without saying that the club are in dire need of a proven centre-back and Caulker, despite enduring a tough time recently on the south coast, may well be an ideal short-term fix.
According to Matt Smith of BBC Sport, Liverpool have actually been keeping an eye on the centre-back, who has one cap for England, for a while:
Matt Smith @msmith850
#LFC were v keen on Caulker when he was at Spurs. Rekindling that now tho he hasn't pulled up too many trees of late.2016-1-12 09:57:53
After all, it’s not too long ago the centre-back was being touted as one of England’s brightest young prospects. He is combative, strong in the air and a decent distributor.
A chance with a club like Liverpool may be exactly what he needs to rediscover his best form again too, especially at the base of a team which presses the ball relentlessly.
Therefore a loan move would make sense for the Reds. Caulker would fill a void, cost little and at the end of his spell with Liverpool, Klopp could make a decision on whether or not to draft him in full time.
Elsewhere, the Reds have been linked with a move for Partizan Belgrade's Andrija Zivkovic. According to L’Equipe (h/t Ed Aarons of the Guardian), Liverpool and Manchester City are keen on the exciting winger.
Here’s a look at the kind of quality he could potentially offer the Reds, who are a little short of options when it comes to the flanks:
Another apparent target for the Reds is Schalke’s Leroy Sane, per Bild (h/t Sport Witness). The German is a young player who, like Zivkovic, would bring an exciting new dimension to this Liverpool team out wide.
According to the Bundesliga side’s general manager Horst Heldt (h/t Sky Sport News ND and Jan Aage Fjortoft), there is no clause which can be triggered to prompt a January or summer sale.
Despite his tender years, Sane has been majorly impressive in the Bundesliga, as we can see courtesy of OptaFranz:
20 - Happy Birthday Leroy #Sané! @s04's youngster celebrates his 20th birthday today. Future. https://t.co/8v58IFzZTa2016-1-11 10:29:57
At the moment Jordon Ibe is the only Liverpool player who is comfortable offering genuine width in advanced areas, so it’d be no surprise to see the Reds seeking to add in this area.
However, neither Partizan or Schalke will want to lose players so talented in the January window.
If Klopp is serious about these prospects, a summer move is surely the more likely option at this juncture. For Liverpool fans, it’s encouraging to see the club being linked with these types of players, as it'd address a major flaw in their attacking play.