With Liverpool defender Martin Skrtelstating that he has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury; Kenny Dalglish might be starting to consider making a centre back another top priority in this summer’s transfer window.
The Slovakian international played every league game last season for the Reds, and although his form wasn’t always great last term, his presence at least ensured there was some continuity and a strong physical presence at the back while both Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger were sidelined with injuries.
With the Reds’ pre-season form blighted by poor defensive displays too, Dalglish is surely looking for personnel to strengthen the backline similarly to what he has done in midfield areas over pre-season. At present, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Sotirios Kyrgiakos are all fit, but with Agger’s fitness issues, the lack of other experienced centre backs is a slight worry, especially if Carra and Soto are the only two fit centre-halves.
Carragher may still be a good defender, but he isn’t getting any younger, or faster for that matter, and playing alongside Soto, who is not blessed with a great deal of speed either, looks a daunting prospect for those who hope for a solid backline this season.
There could be cases made for the likes of Martin Kelly, Daniel Ayala and Danny Wilson to be afforded opportunities at centre back after all their youth, speed and enthusiasm should compliment someone like Carragher very well, but I would be hesitant in putting too much trust in them.
If Skrtel’s injury takes a greater time to heal, and Agger is not fit for every match, the youngsters maybe asked to play more games than Kenny would like. 10 games a season is OK for youngsters settling into the team but to expect them to play perhaps 25+ games in all competitions would surely be too much to ask.
For this reason, the papers are suggesting that Kenny is about to move for another centre-back. Gary Cahill has been a name banded around but Bolton manager Owen Coyle has denied any approach for the player. Other names such as Dejan Lovren, Scott Dann and Mamadou Sakho have been mentioned in the past but no bids from the Reds have been forthcoming.
Liverpool did offer a sizeable amount for Phil Jones, indicating the club is on the look out for a new centre-half, and I’m hopeful that by 1st September, the Reds have strengthened this area enough to cope with all the rigours of the Premier League season.
Written by David Tully for Live4Liverpool.com.