Liverpool Line Up Ben White and Ozan Kabak as Possible Cover for Virgil van Dijk

Oct 20, 2020, 3:00 PM GMT+1
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk sustained a serious knee injury in the Merseyside derby | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Brighton's Ben White and Ozan Kabak from Schalke are two centre-backs Liverpool could target in the January transfer window in an emergency attempt to replace the injured Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool's imposing defensive linchpin was on the end of a wild tackle from Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the early stages of Saturday's Merseyside derby and was forced off injured before a quarter of an hour.

In leaving the field, Van Dijk missed his first minutes of Premier League football since September 2018.

The reigning Premier League champions confirmed the following day that Van Dijk would have to undergo surgery on his torn anterior cruciate ligament. Though neither the club nor the player have put a time scale on his return, it's likely the Dutchman will be sidelined for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has not often been forced to conceive of many teams not consisting of Van Dijk since his arrival in January 2018. And so, Klopp may turn to the winter transfer market for short-term reinforcements according to The Athletic's James Pearce.

Talking to Norwegian broadcasters TV 2 Pearce said: "I will be surprised if they do not sign someone in January. I do not envisage a situation where they play the whole season with the squad they have now."

Pearce hinted at attention Liverpool have paid to Brighton's 23-year-old centre-back White, revealing: "There is a player who has been frequently mentioned at Anfield, and he did very well on loan to Leeds last year, so he is another option."

Schalke's Kabak has long been linked with a move to Anfield though Pearce was a little less assured in his assessment of Liverpool's interest in the Turkey international.

He is quoted as saying: "He [Kabak] is probably another player they are looking at, and another good alternative. But maybe they also see in their own ranks. I know they have high hopes for the young boy Rhys Williams."