Liverpool have reportedly made an offer to sign Schalke centre-back Joel Matip as they look to bolster their defensive options.
According to Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News, his colleagues in Germany reported the Reds have made a bid for the Cameroon international, who is looking to depart Schalke with his contract expiring in the summer:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Sky colleagues in Germany: Liverpool make offer for Schalke's Joel Matip. His contract runs out in the summer. He wants to leave. #LFC2016-1-27 11:33:59
Schalke reportedly want Matip to sign a new deal, but Liverpool are seemingly hoping to snap him up cheaply, per Sky Sports' Mark Ashenden.
The Reds have struggled at the back for the last few seasons and the arrival of Jurgen Klopp as manager has done little to mend the problem—Liverpool's concession of 32 league goals is the worst of the top 11 in the English top flight.
Furthermore, they have been plagued by injuries recently to Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel, and, despite the recent loan addition of Steven Caulker, Matip, 24, would add more quality cover at the back.
Despite his relative youth, Matip is vastly experienced in one of Europe's top leagues. Per WhoScored.com, he has made 178 Bundesliga appearances over his seven seasons in the Schalke first team.
He is a towering presence in defence and can be be a real threat from set pieces as well, as can be seen below:
According to Samuel Stevens in the Independent, Matip has been on Klopp's radar since his time managing Borussia Dortmund, and the international defender could be one of the German's first signings as he looks to shape his new squad.
Matip can also play as a defensive midfielder and thus could fill a number of roles at Liverpool.
There is little question that the Reds defence needs sorting out. With Klopp clearly a fan, Matip could be the first building block in developing a tighter back line.
Elsewhere, Lucas Leiva insists he has taken no notice of previous speculation linking him with a move away from Anfield.
The Brazilian midfielder was on the verge of a move to Besiktas last summer but remained on Merseyside and fought his way back into the side, per MailOnline's Simon Jones.
Per WhoScored, he has made 18 league appearances this season and become a regular in Klopp's first team.
Lucas insists that he still loves playing for the club, per talkSPORT's Sports Bar (via Ian Cruise):
It is my ninth season with the club and there is always speculation and interest from other clubs. But I have always showed a lot of passion for the club and I love to be here and play for the club. Sometimes things don’t go the right way and at the moment everyone is speculating about the manager bringing in new players, but it’s been like this since I arrived really. I just need to keep going and keep working because I think I’ve been having a very good season.
The 29-year-old is undoubtedly a big asset for Liverpool, his immense industry and commitment key to keeping the Reds' engine room going.
He is clearly still happy to remain at Anfield, news that can only be a boost for Klopp and the club's hierarchy.