Liverpool naive for not signing defender this month and Salah, Mane and Firmino could be replaced, says Glen Johnson
GLEN JOHNSON believes Jurgen Klopp has been naive in deciding not to sign a centre-back this month.
Liverpool have endured a defensive injury-crisis this season with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sidelined for the long-term.
Reoccurring injuries to Joel Matip has forced Klopp to play midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in defence while youngsters Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips have also been handed opportunities.
And it has contributed to a drop in form that has seen the title holders drop to fifth in the Premier League.
Johnson, who spent six years with the Reds, believes Klopp has made a mistake by not dipping his toes into the market.
Speaking on behalf of CheltenhamGuides.com, he said: "It’s impossible to gauge how many injuries you get in a season.
"I think they were naive in not getting someone in on loan because the kids – who will hopefully go on to be some fantastic players – are being asked to fill the shoes of Van Dijk and that’s not easy for anybody.
"It’s not as simple as buying a 50, 60, 70 million pound defender that is going to compete.
"The only options they had was to work with the youngsters or get somebody else in on loan and they opted to go with the youngsters and some have been great and some don’t look like they're ready.
"All top teams rely on their top players.
"They’ve tried a lot of personnel there and at the start they were doing fine but then if a player is playing out of position for too long, they can get found out.
"The odd game here and there is absolutely fine, but you’re going to get found out eventually if you try to win the title with two midfielders playing a centre-back."
Liverpool have also had problems at the other end of the pitch.
They have failed to score in their last four league matches – the first time that has happened since May 2000.
Although their quest to defend their title was hampered to the injury of £40million summer signing Diogo Jota.
And Johnson believes it could be the time for Klopp to freshen up his ever-reliable front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.
He added: "Liverpool have been relying on the front three for a long time and you can’t have a five-year period of doing that.
"Liverpool’s recruitment has been fantastic so they’ll definitely be looking at options.
"They brought in Jota, who has been fantastic, but, again, he’s been unlucky with injuries.
"The good thing with Liverpool is that they’ll sign someone if the deal is right, they won’t just go and buy a big name for the sake of it."
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