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Liverpool will be forced into the January transfer stampede, as they face up to a season without their first choice central defensive pairing.
Joe Gomez underwent complicated surgery on Thursday morning to stitch together a ruptured patellar tendon, with the club revealing that he will miss “a significant part” of the club’s remaining games this season.
The surgery was a success, leaving the England star with an outside chance of playing again this season, but the usual rehab period for such an injury is around six months.
With cruciate ligament injury victim Virgil van Dijk missing for the rest of the campaign, that is a bitter blow.
And it will persuade manager Jurgen Klopp to reassess his options in the January transfer window, as he faces up to the prospect of playing the rest of the season with only one fit senior centre half at the club.
That player is Joel Matip, who has himself only managed to start three Premier League games in 13 months because of his own recurring injury problems.
Matip is the final experienced defender left standing for the Reds
(Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Joe Gomez undergoes knee operation as Liverpool defender faces lengthy lay-off
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Klopp was already considering a move for a centre half in January, with the club monitoring the situation of young Turkey international Ozan Kabak for several months.
But the Schalke defender is only 20 and is considered a prospect for the medium term.
Klopp now though needs an experienced centre half who can slot swiftly into his first team.
He is already facing 11 matches without last season’s regular central defensive pairing Gomez and van Dijk before he can move in the transfer market, and he will now seriously consider other options.
The Napoli defender was priced out of a summer move away from the San Paolo
(Image: SIPA USA/PA Images)
Highly-rated centre back Kalidou Koulibaly has long been linked with the Reds, though he was priced out of a summer move by his Italian club Napoli.
Klopp rates the Senegal defender, who has a close relationship with his international team-mate and Liverpool star Sadio Mane.
They also played a season together at Metz in France.
Liverpool have also monitored the RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamenco, who is already a full international with World Champions France at the age of 22.
There are close links with the Red Bull hierarchy at Anfield, and a deal would make economic and playing sense.
Upamecano is having a difficult few months at RBL, but is seen as a major talent
Gomez underwent swift surgery on his torn patellar tendon after scans showed there was no collateral damage to knee ligaments.
Specialists wanted to act quickly to ensure the tendon could be joined back together with scarring, in a delicate procedure which requires drilling holes into the kneecap to anchor the sutured tendon to the bone for increased stability.
Liverpool have not out a timescale on his rehab, but have not ruled out a return this season.
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