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Report: Three defenders on the shortlist to replace Dejan Lovren

Liverpool have identified three central defensive options to replace Dejan Lovren if the Croatian leaves the club in the summer.

The 30 year-old has made 184 appearances across all competitions in his six season stint at the Reds but he is out of contract next summer.

With Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez the preferred pairing in the heart of the defence at this present time, opportunities seem limited for the veteran to be a first team regular and therefore he may look at other options to continue his career.

It is for that reason that Liverpool have a contingency plan and The Mirror via Spanish publication (AS) reports that Michael Edwards has identified three targets.

They are Jose Gimenez from Atletico Madrid, Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig and Alessandro Bastoni from Inter Milan.

Gimenez is described as an individual is an aggressive, proactive centre back who's virtually flawless in the air, quick off the mark and difficult to knock off the ball.

 

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His high level of anticipation helps him clear danger often, and his preferred style out of defence is to go long and seek teammates with lofted balls.

The Uruguayan international has had an injury interrupted season which saw him only be a bit-part player in the Champions League last 16 tie against the Reds.

While the 25 year-old is tied to the Madrid club until 2023 and has a release clause of €120 million there is belief that a cut-price deal could be in order with Diego Simeone sticking with a Steven Savic and Felipe partnership.

The other two options are younger with Upamecano 21 and Bastoni 20.

The scouting report on Upamecano says he is a is a strong and willing tackler with a solid aerial presence and very capable with the ball at his feet.

 

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The French U/21 international is seen as one of the best young defenders in Europe and a major reason behind Leipzig’s very impressive campaign in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season.

He also doesn’t lack any confidence In his ability, saying just last month.

“As I said, first I focus on RB Leipzig and then about what I intend to do, but there are clubs that love me. 

“I will speak well with my agents and my parents at the end of the season. 

 

"And we will make the right decision."

The buyout clause could be a stumbling block (€92 Million) but again there is a thought a lower fee could be agreed to.

Lastly Bastoni is seen as one of the brightest stars of Serie A and his development has seen Inter manager Antonio Conte prefer him to veteran Diego Godin.

 

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His strengths lie in his front foot defending and positioning along with his technical ability.

Along with youngster Sepp van den Berg who was signed last summer, it is good to see the club casting the net far and wide looking for extra quality and depth in the key defensive positions.




 


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If ' proactive ' is short hand for happy to kick people , then I am all in on Gimenez.

 

I think we need a Ragnar Klavan type , an oldie who is a steady-Eddie and happy with 15/20 appearances a season as nominally 4th in line. If they can ' do a job' in one or both of the full back positions so much the better.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, sir roger said:

If ' proactive ' is short hand for happy to kick people , then I am all in on Gimenez.

 

I think we need a Ragnar Klavan type , an oldie who is a steady-Eddie and happy with 15/20 appearances a season as nominally 4th in line. If they can ' do a job' in one or both of the full back positions so much the better.

 

 

This.

Basically, I want Lovren without the brainfarts.

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The thing about Jimenez is that, while he is a very solid defender, he doesn't seem all that suited to playing in a high defensive line. Atletico don't play that way, and neither do Uruguay so we'd either have to alter our set-up completely, or he would have to adjust his game to suit us. Leipzig do play with a higher defensive line so Upamecano should have less of an adjustment to make, but it's whether he can make the step up. I've never seen Bastoni play, but Conte likes to set up his teams with a back 3 and wing-backs, which is something Klopp doesn't do, so again there is a need for adjustment.

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1 hour ago, J-V said:

We won’t sign any of those three.  All will cost a fortune and Gomez starts with VVD.

 

Would Ben White join to sit on the bench.  Probably not.

Yes, we're not going to sign Gimenez to be 4th choice.

 

Promoting one of the kids or signing another Klavan for 20p would seem the most likely options.

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If the season was seen out normally - and relatively quickly - I would have liked to see us try a 3-5-2 in anticipation of bringing in another striker and centre back, showing that other systems would be looked at which could see appearances spread further and possibly giving us a different approach for when teams try to hammer us from deep as Watford did (more cover for the defender wrestling Deeney and another forward ensuring we keep someone between the posts at all times). I think Gomez gives us good flexibility there and it could also mean other players could help cover the full backs at times.

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21 minutes ago, Pidge said:

If the season was seen out normally - and relatively quickly - I would have liked to see us try a 3-5-2 in anticipation of bringing in another striker and centre back, showing that other systems would be looked at which could see appearances spread further and possibly giving us a different approach for when teams try to hammer us from deep as Watford did (more cover for the defender wrestling Deeney and another forward ensuring we keep someone between the posts at all times). I think Gomez gives us good flexibility there and it could also mean other players could help cover the full backs at times.

I think a 3 at the back system fits our personnel really well. Gomez and van Dijk are essentially the perfect wide centre backs, Trent and Robbo, the perfect wing backs, every midfielder we have can play box to box, etc... It's actually pretty ideal. 

 

But I remember reading somewhere that 3 at the back formations are the least ideal for pressing. Don't remember why or where I saw that. There's some tactical reason. And I don't think Klopp has ever used 3 at the back extensively at any point in his career. 

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23 minutes ago, 3 Stacks said:

I think a 3 at the back system fits our personnel really well. Gomez and van Dijk are essentially the perfect wide centre backs, Trent and Robbo, the perfect wing backs, every midfielder we have can play box to box, etc... It's actually pretty ideal. 

 

But I remember reading somewhere that 3 at the back formations are the least ideal for pressing. Don't remember why or where I saw that. There's some tactical reason. And I don't think Klopp has ever used 3 at the back extensively at any point in his career. 

I think it can be used to press in the middle (especially when Bobby is one of the 2), but yeah, probably not enough players to press high. Not such a huge issue when the other side doesn't even want the ball though.

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