As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Who now? Four centre-backs Liverpool can target after missing out on Upamecano

Liverpool's stellar run in the last couple of seasons have come as a result of a formula the great Sir Alex Ferguson gave his stamp of approval. "Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles" he said.

Liverpool's front office must have had that in mind when they brought in Virgil van Dijk in January 2018. The Dutchman came into the club and completely revitalised Liverpool's backline. It didn't matter who he got paired with at the back, they held opposing attackers off and kept helping the team grind out wins.

Fast forward to March 2021, van Dijk isn't available, in fact the three first choice centre-backs in the club are unavailable. The team is currently on course to have one of the worst title-defence seasons in Premier League history. Having gone through 20 variations of centre-back pairings this season already, the Reds have reached new lows, losing six Premier League home games in a row - the first time they've done that in the top flight in their 129-year history.

It's important to note that this could have been prevented if Liverpool made the move for soon-to-be Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano in the summer transfer window last year. It's no surprise the young Frenchman got snapped up that quick, he is a brilliant defender. The 22-year-old stands at 6'1 tall, is fast and possesses good ability on the ball.

While Liverpool weren't able to get him, the club will be looking to avoid a repeat of their quiet 2020 centre-back recruitment.

So here are four centre-backs Liverpool could look at this coming summer to bolster their ranks to better prepare for next season.

Ibrahima Konate - RB Leipzig

Although Liverpool have missed out on an exciting young Frenchman at Leipzig in Upamecano, there's no reason they can't look into getting his teammate of the same nationality.

Ibrahima Konate at just 21 years of age already shows the mental and physical astuteness required to excel in the Premier League or any league at all for that matter.

Standing at 6'4, he possesses a certain confidence and technical ability on the ball that you rarely see in defenders that young or that large.

He is also very pacy and boasts a top speed of 34.4km/h. To put that into perspective, Kylian Mbappe's top speed recorded is 36.2km/h.

All these attributes translate into a fantastic partner for Liverpool's Dutch centre-half Virgil van Dijk. Getting playing time alongside an elite, older defender would do wonders for Konate's development.

While Konate is full of plenty pros, he's riddled with a con that might make Jurgen Klopp shy away from purchasing him. Injuries. His almost perfect physical attributes are hard to keep healthy and injury free. It is left to see how he'd get by if he makes the Premier League switch seeing as the Premier League has the most injuries among the Top 5 leagues.

Jules Kounde - Sevilla

If Liverpool are in the market for a young, versatile, athletic, brilliant passer in their backline ahead of next season, Jules Kounde is their man.

Kounde boasts a very calm and composed style of play. He is an expert at closing down angles and letting the play come to him, which is refreshing, considering the fact that most defenders his age tend to be overly impulsive with their approach to defending.

Under Klopp's guidance, Kounde could develop into a world class player and, in turn, provide Liverpool with defensive solidity.

Andreas Christensen - Chlesea

Thomas Tuchel's appointment at Chelsea has ushered in an age of resurgence for the Blues. This resurgence wouldn't have been possible without a few players and Andreas Christensesn is one of them.

Although Christensen has spent a lot of time away from the starting lineup at Chelsea, Thiago Silva's recent injury paved the way for the Danish international to show what he's truly made of at the heart of Tuchel's back 3.

He has been part of a trio that has shipped in only one goal in their last 11 games with him always being the standout man because of his flawless performances.

Christensen has shown great maturity, brilliant defensive positioning and anticipation coupled with a rare passing ability and ability to defend against fast transitioning teams under his new manager. All attributes that could lead to the club tying him down with a contract offer soon.

But if nothing of that nature happens, Liverpool could snap him up and they will have no regrets from letting Dayot Upamecano slip through.

Benoit Badiashile - AS Monaco

Yet another outstanding young French centre-half. Benoit already has astonishing experience under his belt, with over 50 games for Les Monegasques at just 19 years of age.

Badiashile has come a long way from his debut loss to current French champions PSG as a 17 year old. His current style of play shows he has studied the game, taken bits from veteran Kamil Glik during his time at the club and is now becoming his own man alongside current centre-back partner Axel Disasi.

A potential diamond in the rough with physical attributes mirroring Liverpool's finest defender Virgil van Dijk. If Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool's front office choose to go for Benoit, they will have an aerially dominant defender with quick acceleration speed and tons of room for growth on their hands.

Phillip Ekuwem
About the author

Phillip Ekuwem

Have your say

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free