Liverpool turn to MLS for short-term solution to defensive crisis

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 2 min read
Liverpool turn to MLS for short-term solution to defensive crisis
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Liverpool are looking into the possibility of signing New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long on loan during the off-season of Major League Soccer.

The Premier League champions are currently in the middle of a defensive crisis, with first-choice centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez set to miss the majority of the season, while Joel Matip will now be out for a while after picking up an injury versus Tottenham on Thursday.

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Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have been asked to deputise in the centre of the defence, with youngsters Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips having also been given opportunities.

Even though manager Jurgen Klopp said previously it was unlikely that Liverpool would delve into the transfer market to bring someone in before the window shuts, the injury to Matip has now, apparently, changed his mind.

“We will try,” the German told the media on Friday when asked about signing a new centre-back.

“It would be funny if you thought Liverpool were fine with the situation. We try, but there’s nothing to say until something happens. We will see.”

Liverpool are apparently planning to recruit a centre-back in the summer, with Sergio Ramos, Dayot Upamecano, and Kalidou Koulibaly having been linked previously.

Liverpool target Aaron Long

ClubNew York Red Bulls
2020 Tackles P900.4
2020 Duels Won P905.3
2020 Pass Completion73%

But, they are not prepared to break the bank for their A-list new centre-back in the middle of the season, and so now are looking at alternatives.

ESPN reports that they may have found one in 28-year-old Long, who made 16 appearances for New York Red Bulls in the 2020 MLS season.

Long has previously been rumoured to be a target of Championship side Reading, with his performances in the United States earning him admiring glances from teams in Europe.

In 2018, he was named MLS Defender of the Year in a season which saw New York Red Bulls win the Supporters Shield.

He is also a full international for the United States, having featured 18 times.

The interest from Liverpool is apparently just a rumour for the moment, however, as in the same report ESPN mention that they have contacted New York Red Bulls for comment on any bids for Long, with the MLS side responding that they have yet to receive any from Liverpool or anyone else within the past few days.

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