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Liverpool caught in transfer trap with no £6.5m centre-back deal in sight

Liverpool desperately need a fourth senior dedicated centre-back – but the January transfer window isn’t making life easy.

The Reds have been trawling the market for defensive reinforcements, only for options to be limited.

And with rivals aware of the desire of the Anfield outfit, prices are very much at a premium.

Except this isn’t 2021 we’re talking about.

Instead, the clock has been turned back 13 years to a scenario that resonates somewhat with the predicament in which Liverpool find themselves at present.

Back in 2008, Rafael Benitez was the Reds boss seeking to bolster the heart of his backline.

Jamie Carragher was a mainstay and at the peak of his powers, but Sami Hyypia was being asked to turn out twice a week at the age of 34 with Daniel Agger hampered, as was too often case during his Liverpool career, by injury.

A new signing was an imperative, not least to provide assistance to Carragher and Hyypia during the second half of the season.

It wasn’t easy. The Reds, though, finally found their man and today marks the anniversary of them splashing out £6.5million to take Martin Skrtel from Zenit St Petersburg.

A trifling amount by today’s standards, back then it represented a club record fee for a defender.

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After a shaky beginning – an own goal the lowlight of a jittery full debut at home to Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup – Skrtel went on to play under five Liverpool managers, and made 320 appearances before leaving in the summer of 2016.

It was another example of how the Reds have used the January market to improve their defensive options, whether it be a short-term fix – Mauricio Pellegrino in 2005 – or more long-term solutions such as Agger 12 months later or, of course, Virgil van Dijk in 2018.

All, for varying reasons, justified their arrival.

Liverpool aren’t in precisely the same situation now but comparisons shouldn’t be entirely dismissed.

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And while Jurgen Klopp hasn’t completely ruled out a move for a centre-back this month, there remains only a slim chance that, if the right deal transpires, the Reds could swoop.

Finances in this pandemic age, as much as determining the right player, are proving troublesome. Certainly, there’s no chance of Liverpool setting another new club landmark for a defender any time soon.

But history indicates the Reds are not averse to using January as an opportunity to address defensive concerns.

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