Liverpool transfer stance on Sven Botman and Ozan Kabak revealed

Jurgen Klopp has been forced to contend with a mounting injury crisis this season (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool have made contact with representatives of Schalke defender Ozan Kabak, but are unlikely to pursue a deal and are minded to wait until the summer to reinforce their defence.

Jurgen Klopp has been forced to contend with a mounting injury crisis this season which has threatened to undermine his side’s defence of the Premier League title.

Both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are unlikely to play again this season as a result of the long-term knee injuries they suffered in October, while the likes of Fabinho and Joel Matip have also spent spells on the sidelines.

In total, Klopp has been forced to utilise 14 different combinations at the heart of his defence this season with the likes of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio all making their senior debuts this term.

The Liverpool manager was even forced to deploy Jordan Henderson in central defence during Monday’s defeat at Southampton which prompted club legend Jamie Carragher to implore his old side to make a defensive signing in the January window.

Liverpool held talks with the representatives of Schalke defender Ozan Kabak (Picture: Getty)

He said: ‘It’s a massive worry, but it’s not a new worry. Joel Matip will not play every game between now and the end of the season. We knew that even before the injury today, that’s why it’s paramount Liverpool sign somebody in January. I said that as soon as Virgil van Dijk had his injury against Everton.

‘Fabinho’s gone there and looked like a top-class centre-back in that position, so maybe people at the club felt the need wasn’t as urgent. But Joel Matip is too injury prone, his body can’t take the rigour of playing Premier League football week in, week out, we know that since he joined, he’s a really good player.

‘I still believe Liverpool are the best team in this league, even without Van Dijk and I think most people would say they’re favourites to win the Premier League. The only way they don’t win it is if they have problems at centre-back, where Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips have to play for a prolonged period of time.

‘The odd game now and again, they’ve done fantastic, but I know, since that’s the position I played, it’s not really a position for young players as such. At times they will make mistakes as they’re young players, they’re learning.

‘That’s the only way that could cost Liverpool, and I don’t necessarily mean bringing in a centre-back for £70-80 million like a Van Dijk type of signing, and not necessarily someone to go straight into the team. Just someone there so that Liverpool don’t end up with two young lads at some stage for five or six weeks if Fabinho was to go down injured.

‘At this moment, Liverpool have one senior centre-back who is available this season and he’s injury prone, so they have to do something in January.’

Liverpool, however, according to the Athletic, are unlikely to do business this month and cooled their interest in Kabak with Schalke valuing the player at €25m.

The 20-year-old Turkey international is now said to be likely to join Serie A giants AC Mian, while Liverpool have no interest in Lille centre-half Sven Botman who has been heavily linked with a move to the club this week.

Liverpool do maintain an interest in RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, but with the two clubs set to meet in the next round of the Champions League, there is little chance the Bundesliga club will sell one of their prize assets in the current window.

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