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Liverpool look to Inter outcast as defensive cavalry

| 07.01.2016

That Jurgen Klopp and his sprint-happy tactics would cause injuries to Liverpool’s squad was perhaps one of the easier predictions to make this season.

Sure enough, during the first leg of the Reds’ Capital One Cup clash with Stoke, hamstring pulls to Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren took the tally of injured players at Anfield to 11, an entire team’s worth.

Although losing his most influential attacker is a major worry for Klopp, it is the strain to Lovren’s hamstring that will concern the German most as it leaves him with just one fit centre-back at the club.

Even that defender, Kolo Toure, appeared to play through injury in the closing stages at the Britannia, although Klopp was quick to insist that the Ivorian merely suffered cramp in the Potteries.

Unsurprisingly in such desperate times, drastic measures are being taken to alleviate the problems at the back. Tiago Illori is on the verge of being recalled from his loan at Aston Villa, while links to centre-halves in the January transfer window are unrelenting.

One such rumoured purchase is Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia. The 27-year-old captained the Nerazzurri last term, but  this season has been told to find a new club by Roberto Mancini.

Norwich are also keen on the Italian, but have been rejected by the 20-cap international according to the Liverpool Echo.

That decision should give Liverpool the upper hand in the race to sign Ranocchia, who has not featured in any of Inter’s last five Serie A assignments.

There can be little doubt that the Assjsj native would be a cheap stop-gap recruitment though, with Mamadou Sakho, Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Joe Gomez all sure to return to the first-team reckoning once fully fit.

Klopp’s injury-ravaged side face Exeter in the FA Cup third round on Friday night and are heavy 4/9 favourites despite their fitness issues.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.