Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has explained to supporters on the official website why we signed Steven Caulker on loan today.
The 24-year-old Englishman has joined from QPR until the end of the season, with Southampton agreeing to terminate his temporary deal at St. Mary’s due to a lack of playing time.
Klopp claims that due to our current injury crisis, he was keen on bringing in a new defender this month, although he didn’t think he’d have to before Christmas when we had a roster of fit defenders.
Importantly, Klopp has cited Caulker’s attributes as a primary reason for us targeting him too. The German mentions that the England international is excellent in the air (something our defenders have definitely not been so far this season), and states that he’ll suit our sharp pressing game as well.
“It was very important for us,” Klopp began.
“In our situation, four weeks ago we didn’t know we’d have a problem with centre-halves because they were all in the race. At the start of the season, Joe Gomez was also in the squad, so a fifth centre-half – and then the situation changed completely.
“Now, we’ve had to make a decision whether we wanted to get another player for the position. The situation is Martin Skrtel is not available for around about the next four-and-a-half weeks, five weeks. Then we have the problem with Dejan – it’s only a little muscle injury. I think he’ll be available in one to one-and-a-half weeks. Then you have Mama with a little knee issue – he can play, but it’s not perfect and you cannot bring him three or four times in a row throughout the season. And it’s the same for Kolo and so would mean we are always in this situation, do we have enough or not? So we thought, ‘Yes, good idea’.
“We looked for Premier League experience because in this short time, you need that experience. We looked for a good header [of the ball] because that’s what we need – we want to play good pressing, we want to press the opponent and so they have to play long balls. If they play long balls, you need people in the last line who can help you with headers.
“And we’ve found it with Steven Caulker. He was not in the best situation in Southampton, didn’t play too much, but this is January and we want to have the best solution for us and we are absolutely convinced that Steven is the best solution for us.
“I am looking forward to working with him. He will be here today and then we can start working, so everything is good!”
So with Marko Grujic spending the rest of this season at parent club Red Star Belgrade, Caulker will be the first Klopp signing to appear for Liverpool under his stewardship.
Imagine the odds you’d have got on that upon his appointment?!
Still – Klopp’s comments make tactical sense – and with it being a loan – it’s risk free. Caulker’s strong, quick and is actually eligible to face Arsenal at Anfield tomorrow.
If Mamadou Sakho doesn’t pass a late fitness test, Liverpool’s new no.19 could be granted a tricky debut.