• Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have suffered serious injuries
  • Liverpool are left with only one senior center-back, who is also injury-prone
  • The Reds are at the top of the 2020-21 Premier League table

Liverpool FC reportedly have added Roma’s Roger Ibanez to their transfer list as the Reds are seeing the center-back as a cover for injured Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool may have to battle out Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur to acquire the services of Ibanez, ASRomaLive reported.

Ahead of the January transfer window, Liverpool’s priority will be to strengthen their defense considering their first-choice center-backs van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both currently sidelined due to serious injuries. The only remaining senior center-back Joe Matip is also injury prone. Jurgen Klopp has been forced to push defensive midfielder Fabinho into a deeper role to provide cover in recent months, while he has also included academy graduates like Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.

While there are rumors that Liverpool will stick to these players instead of making a new signing in January, several defenders have been linked with a move to Anfield in the coming months and the latest one is Roma’s Ibanez.

It was earlier reported that Liverpool also have their eyes set on Brighton’s center-back Ben White, whose current market price is expected to be around $66 million.

After making only two appearances for Atalanta, the 22-year-old Ibanez joined Roma ahead of the 2019-20 season. He made his debut for the Serie A side post the COVID-19 lockdown, but has now become a regular starter for the club, having started 19 times out of the 26 matches he has played for Roma so far. The report has also stated that Roma are prepared to receive bids for their talented Brazilian and at least three Premier League sides are interested, including Liverpool. However, to fend off the bidders, Roma are also planning to extend Ibanez’s contract that is due to expire in 2023.

During the 2020 summer transfer window, when Tottenham and Leicester were interested, Roma had demanded at least $36 million. It is understood that Ibanez’s asking price now may have increased to between $42 million and $48 million. Apart from the Premier League sides, the Brazilian defender is also being chased by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Could the loss of Virgil van Dijk cost Liverpool the Premier League title?
Could the loss of Virgil van Dijk cost Liverpool the Premier League title? POOL / Catherine Ivill

PSG are looking at Ibanez as a potential long-term replacement for his Brazil compatriot Thiago Silva, who moved to Chelsea ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. However, unlike Liverpool, PSG have no urgent need of signing a defender and are willing to wait until next summer to make an offer.