Liverpool rule out Ozan Kabak transfer bid as Reds make decision on fourth summer signing

Liverpool will not be bidding for Schalke’s Ozan Kabak before October 5 and have decided against pursuing the signing of a new centre-back, according to reports. Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are currently both injured, leaving Virgil van Dijk as the club’s only senior fit centre-half.

While Gomez should be back in training this week, Matip faces up to a month out with his latest niggle, with both having been absent for Sunday’s Premier League win at Chelsea.

Fabinho deputised alongside Van Dijk and the Brazilian holding midfielder performed excellently in defence, with Jurgen Klopp declaring that he would have been the man of the match if not for Sadio Mane’s game-winning brace.

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But with only Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip as the senior centre-backs at Anfield after Dejan Lovren’s departure to Zenit St Petersburg, there have been suggestions Liverpool might look to sign another defender.

Their summer transfer window had been quiet until last weekend, only recruiting Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos at around £12million.

But the Reds snapped up Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota from Bayern Munich and Wolves on Friday and Saturday respectively at around £60m.

The Premier League champions will only pay £9.5m across the first 12 months of the two deals due to how the agreements were structured however.

And that fee has been slightly offset by the £9m sale of promising young defender Ki-Jana Hoever to Wolves, with it thought the Dutchman did not want to sign a new deal on Merseyside.

Reports from Germany indicated that Kabak had also emerged on Liverpool’s radar but The Athletic say Klopp will not be making any more signings in the current window.

Club sources are said to have dismissed speculation they might move for the Turkish defender, aged 20.

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Instead, Klopp is satisfied with his options in the back-line – viewing Fabinho as his fourth-choice centre-back given his options in midfield.

Fabinho is excellent in the holding role but the German coach has Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum who can all play as the No 6, while James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones and Naby Keita offer further competition in midfield.

And so in order to ensure he can give regular minutes to those players, Klopp is happy to call upon Fabinho in defence when necessary.

He said of the Reds’ No 3: “If Sadio wouldn’t have scored two goals, I think Fab would be a proper contender for Man of the Match. 

“I loved his performance, he played outstanding. He helped us a lot with the ball and in defending as well, so yes, a proper performance.


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While centre-back partner Van Dijk added: “Outstanding. I just told him as well I think he was man of the match. To keep out a striker like [Timo] Werner and don’t let him score, overall he was outstanding.”

With the 26-year-old midfielder is the fourth choice at the back, Klopp believes France youth international Billy Koumetio is then his fifth option.

The teenager was absent from the squad at Chelsea due to a knock but thrived in pre-season and impressed Liverpool’s staff and first-team squad.

The towering Koumetio, who stands even above Van Dijk despite only being 17, signed a five-year contract last month having joined from US Orleans in 2018. 

Liverpool’s focus in the final fortnight of the window will instead be on outgoings with Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic among those they are open to offloading.

Striker Rhian Brewster has meanwhile been the subject of an offer from Crystal Palace worth £25m including add-ons and also involving a buy-back clause of £37m.

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