Joel Matip's latest injury may force Liverpool into the transfer market in January - we run the rule over the Reds' reported centre-back targets in the winter window.
Matip, 29, faces three weeks on the sidelines after damaging his groin in Sunday's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, the most recent in a series of setbacks the Cameroon central defender has suffered this campaign.
The Premier League champions were reportedly monitoring a number of possible central defenders following Dejan Lovren's departure for Zenit St Petersburg last summer, including Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, before deciding they were happy with the options they had.
Despite losing both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to potentially season-ending knee injuries earlier this season, though, Liverpool were still not believed to have any plans to enter the market in January.
Fabinho has deputised seamlessly for the duo, while neither Rhys Williams, 19, nor Nat Phillips, 23, have looked out of their depth when asked to cover for the injured Matip.
Captain Jordan Henderson also filled in at centre back when Matip's back gave out halfway through Liverpool's 1-1 draw at Fulham in December.
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But, even with their budget restricted due to the impacts of Covid-19, the club's stance may now change and manager Jurgen Klopp could bring in defensive reinforcements in January, something Jamie Carragher recently advocated.
"I don't necessarily mean bring in a centre back for £70m-£80m, like a Van Dijk signing," said the Sky Sports pundit.
"And not necessarily someone to go straight in the team - just someone there so Liverpool don't end up with two young lads at some stage if Fabinho was to go down injured.
"Because at this moment, Liverpool Football Club have one senior centre back who's available this season and he's injury prone. So they have to, have to do something in January."
So, who could the Liverpool manager move for? We look at how the club's reported targets have performed this season, what their attributes are, and whether a deal may be possible for any of them in January...
Ben White (Brighton)
Contract situation: 2024
Liverpool were one of a number of Premier League clubs to monitor White's progress during his loan spell with Leeds United last season when the Poole-born defender played an integral role in Marcelo Bielsa's side gaining promotion to the Premier League.
However, that interest has since cooled and with White having also signed a new four-deal at Brighton in September, prising the player away from the Amex in January could prove costly.
Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
Contract situation: 2023
Upamecano is currently one of Europe's most in-demand central defenders after an impressive season last time out with Leipzig, who he helped progress to the Champions League semi-finals.
The France international was rewarded for those displays with a contract extension last July, although the new deal contains a reported £40m buyout clause which only comes into effect next summer.
And that may cloud the issue as far as Liverpool's interest in January is concerned, as could the the defender's relative loss of form this campaign and the fact the two sides meet each other in the Champions League in the spring.
However, given Upamecano is reportedly Liverpool's first choice, Carragher believes Klopp should move for him in January.
"There is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano, there is talk of him," said the former Liverpool defender.
"If he is the one they wanted, then bring it forward. Pay extra money and do it on January 1st."
Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan)
Contract situation: 2023
The Slovakia international was reportedly interesting Tottenham last summer, only for the north London club to be scared off by Inter's £54m valuation of the defender.
And while the experienced centre back has recently fallen down the pecking order under Antonio Conte, a similar valuation would also prove too prohibitive for Liverpool, who have nonetheless reportedly been monitoring the player.
Ozan Kabak (Schalke 04)
Contract situation: 2024
Liverpool were reportedly all set to make a move for Kabak last summer, before the effects of Covid impacted their transfer budget.
Klopp prefers to shop in his homeland, where he has contacts, including former Schalke boss David Wagner, who he no doubt would have spoken to about the Turkey international before he left the club in September.
Schalke were originally understood to want £40m for the central defender - pictured above when playing for previous club Galatasaray - but that figure has since dropped to £30m, of which Liverpool could pay £20m in January, with the rest in instalments.
And there are even reports the Reds could use back-up striker Divock Origi in part exchange for the player, who Klopp is believed to rate highly, although his relative lack of top-level experience may count against him.
Perr Schuurs (Ajax)
Contract situation: 2022
The Netherlands international - who actually had a trial with Liverpool two years ago - caught Klopp's eye when Ajax faced the Reds in the Champions League group phase earlier this season.
That led to reports claiming Liverpool were interested in Schuurs, who replaced Matthijs de Ligt in Ajax's defence when he joined Juventus in the summer of 2019, stories the youngster was quick to reject though.
"I hear and read it [Liverpool rumours] too," he told SBS6, as quoted by Voetbal Primeur. "It's my first season as a basic player at Ajax. I want to play here for a few more seasons and win prizes. I'm not really working on that yet."
However, with the Eredivisie champions understood to want £27m for the player, Liverpool Sporting Director Michael Edwards may feel that is a valuation he can work with in January.
|Kabak (per 90)||Skriniar (per 90)||Upamecano (per 90)||White (per 90)|
|Passes||409 (52)||632 (69)||969 (90)||759 (52)|
|Tackles||7 (0.9)||15 (1.6)||15 (1.4)||28 (1.9)|
|Interceptions||8 (1)||11 (1.2)||12 (1.1)||25 (1.7)|
|Clearances||26 (3.3)||24 (2.6)||28 (2.6)||22 (1.5)|
|Aeirals won||33 (4.2)||7 (0.8)||17 (1.6)||25 (1.7)|
|Aeirals||43 (5.5)||18 (2)||28 (2.6)||45 (3.1)|
|Headed Clearances||14 (1.8)||15 (1.6)||10 (0.9)||10 (0.7)|
|Touches||525 (67)||740 (81)||1086 (101)||928 (64)|
|Dribbled past by opp.||3 (0.4)||3 (0.3)||3 (0.3)||15 (1)|
|Errors leading to goals||0 (0)||0 (0)||0 (0)||0 (0)|
Of course, if Liverpool are not in a financial position to spend big in January, then the club could always look at a possible loan move for a defender, or start negotiating with foreign-based players whose contracts expire this summer.
David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
Contract situation: 2021
The versatile defender looks set to leave Bayern on a free at the end of the season after rejecting the club's latest offer of a new deal, with Liverpool reportedly holding a "strong interest" in the player.
The Reds can either wait until his current deal at the Allianz Arena expires this summer and sign him for nothing, or if they are desperate for defensive reinforcements this season, they could try to land him in a cut-price deal in January.
'If a January deal makes sense, Liverpool have the means to pursue it'
Analysis by Sky Sports News' Merseyside Correspondent Vinny O'Connor:
Liverpool's stance again is that they will not be signing anyone in the January transfer market.
The caveat to that is it's similar to their stance in the past, most recently last summer, before they then signed Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota.
It sounds like stating the obvious, but while they are saying they have no intention to sign players this January, if a deal presented itself that made sense then they have the means to pursue it.
As for the summer, and the links with Upamecano, the process of identifying IF Liverpool will even consider doing anything then is underway now.
As I've mentioned before, the response to links with the likes of White and Kabak was no interest.
Premier League clubs will be on high alert over the next six months and more with some top names seeing their contract run out in the summer of 2021.
These players are free to talk to clubs from foreign leagues from January 1, as their current clubs weigh up whether to offer a new deal, sell for a reduced fee in January, or allow to leave on a free in the summer.
The pool of out-of-contract players is more high profile than ever, with club legends in Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero up for grabs if they do not sign a new deal.
The January transfer window will opener on Saturday 2 January 2021 and close on Monday 1 February; Follow all the latest in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms as well as Sky Sports News.