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Liverpool’s current January transfer plans have to be a smokescreen for their true intentions.
That is the view of club legend John Aldridge, who has told his former side that they must sign a new central defender if they are deadly serious about retaining their title.
Jurgen Klopp led the club to Premier League glory last season, their first top flight triumph in 30 years, but injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have left them short at the back this time out.
Aldridge has been baffled by the club’s apparent stance over the upcoming transfer window, and hypothesised that their true intentions will become apparent early next month.
"Word has been coming out of Anfield suggesting Liverpool are not looking to sign anyone next month, but it has to be a smokescreen because they simply have to sign a centre-half if they are serious about retaining the Premier League title," Aldridge told Sunday World.
"Joel Matip's injury in Sunday's 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion confirmed what we have all appreciated for some time now – Liverpool have to spend money on a good quality defender.
"I like Matip, and if he could be relied upon to play the majority of games in the second-half of the season, manager Jurgen Klopp might be able to get through to next summer with the current squad.
"Yet, the reality facing Liverpool heading into Wednesday's game at Newcastle is pretty stark – they have one senior centre-back to call upon and he is a midfielder, Fabinho.
"The injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have ripped a hole in Liverpool's defensive line and with Matip clearly struggling with his fitness, Liverpool are horribly short at the centre of their defence.”
The Reds had the chance to go five points clear at the top of the table when taking on Newcastle on Wednesday evening at St James’ Park, with Klopp naming a makeshift defence.
Fabinho was joined in the starting line-up by youngster Nat Phillips, with midfielder Thiago named on the bench after a long period on the sidelines.
Asked if he was getting used to making enforced changes in defence, Klopp said before kick-off against Newcastle: “It’s not my hobby, but it’s true.
"We have to do it and we will do it, that’s how it is, we can’t change it.
“The boys have done, so far, really well. Rhys and Nat both did really well, and Fabinho as well.
“That’s the situation, nothing really to say about it. Joel is out, find another solution, that’s what we did.”
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