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Liverpool conceded three goals in their opening Premier League game of the season. Jurgen Klopp reckoned that it was a result of the team celebrating too soon after establishing a 4-1 lead in the 63rd minute. However, it is also down to Liverpool’s back four not being protected by a proper defensive midfielder. Lucas Leiva is thought to be unhappy with his situation at Anfield. He had been linked with a move to Galatasaray, but Klopp was the main factor in stopping the transfer from progressing any further than just talks. He is aware of Liverpool’s lack of strength in the defensive midfield area.
This may explain why the club are keen on signing Inter Milan’s enforcer Gary Medel. Links with the Chilean midfielder have come as a major surprise especially considering that it was not long ago that the 29-year-old played for Cardiff City. Medel had only one season with Cardiff before moving to Inter. He has been a regular first choice player for the Italian club. However, there are several reasons why he could be a great backup option for Liverpool.
Medel is the kind of player who does not think twice about doing the dirty job if it benefits the team. He can come up with tactical fouls or even very strong challenges that prevent the opposition from getting into any kind of rhythm. This attribute could have come in handy for Liverpool against Arsenal on Sunday. They missed a player like Medel who could have kept the opposition worried about incoming challenges. No wonder, he is known as the El Pitbull.
Liverpool are aware that keeping Lucas at Anfield will be a difficult prospect even if they have just been able to ward off the threat from Galatasaray. The player is currently recovering from a hamstring injury, but he is almost certain not to be in the plans of Klopp even if he returns. Medel is not a like-for-like replacement for Lucas, but he brings different qualities that may be important as well.
Klopp’s preferred formation is to play the 4-3-3 system, but the absence of an out and out defensive midfielder does not allow this system. Lucas can be quite effective, but Medel is the best plan B available for the Reds right now. Even if Lucas stays at Anfield, Liverpool will try their best to sign Medel for this reason.