sport news Six short-term fixes for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool defence in January

Will they or won't they? That is the question surrounding Liverpool in the January transfer window as they mull over whether or not to buy a centre-back.

Jurgen Klopp has been without Virgil van Dijk since October 17 and Joe Gomez since November and after months of getting by with makeshift defenders, it looks like they are starting to feel their absence. 

Fabinho has been immense in his conversion from anchor man to centre-back while youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have performed admirably. Even Jordan Henderson did a fine job in defence at Southampton on Monday. 

Jurgen Klopp has been urged to find a 'stop-gap' for his defensive woes in the January window

Jurgen Klopp has been urged to find a 'stop-gap' for his defensive woes in the January window

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Fabinho and others have had to plug holes after the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez

Fabinho and others have had to plug holes after the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez

But with Joel Matip still struggling to put together a run of games, is it time Klopp acted and brought in a new defender this month so his midfielders can return to their usual positions?

Liverpool legend John Barnes made an interesting point this week, insisting the Reds should buy a 'stop-gap' defender this month to plug the hole until Van Dijk and Gomez are fit again. 

'Long-term, Liverpool need better quality in defensive areas,' Barnes told BonusCodeBets.co.uk.

'Liverpool need a stop-gap defender - they're probably not going to get the best centre-back in the world in January as that is not always the best time to buy and the best players are in the Champions League for their clubs.

'Liverpool need a centre-back, but they won't get one for £60m who is going to come and play alongside Van Dijk when he's fit. It is clear they need numbers in defensive positions because influential midfield players, Henderson and Fabinho, are playing in defence and you would much rather have them in midfield.'

With that in mind, Sportsmail has identified six defenders whose current contracts expire this summer and could therefore be available in a cut-price deal this month. 

Aissa Mandi - Real Betis

Mandi was heavily linked with a move to Anfield as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who left for Zenit St Petersburg in the summer.

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He featured regularly for Betis last season, making 30 appearances in all competitions, and has played 12 games this time around.

Mandi's versatility is believed to be an attractive proposition for the Reds with the centre-back also capable of filling in as a full-back.

He looks destined to leave the Spanish side, given he was likely to go in the summer and has still not signed new terms.

Liverpool valued him around £9m a few months ago and that price will have probably dropped even further with six months left on his current deal.

Aissa Mandi was a Liverpool target in the summer and they could come back in for him now

Aissa Mandi was a Liverpool target in the summer and they could come back in for him now

Mateo Musacchio - AC Milan

Musacchio has always been a talented defender and made a £16m move from Villarreal to AC Milan in 2017 but it hasn't quite worked out.

The 30-year-old is yet to make an appearance in any competition so far this season due to the impressive from Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer.

Musacchio was a key player

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