Liverpool 'have made contact with former Arsenal defender Sokratis'

Liverpool ‘have made contact with former Arsenal defender Sokratis’ as they scramble for cover in defence with the Greek international – who played for Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund – free to sign after his release from the Emirates

  • Liverpool are considering former Arsenal defender Sokratis, reports claim 
  • The Greek centre-back is a free agent after being released from the Emirates  
  • Jurgen Klopp is in need of reinforcements with his options depleted at the back
  • Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain out while Joel Matip is struggling to return

Liverpool have reached out to former Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos as they step up their search for defensive reinforcements, according to reports. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been ravaged by injury this season – particularly in defence – with key centre-back Virgil van Dijk a long-term absentee while Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have also been out for some time. It has forced the German to field midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho at the back and has impact on the club’s form. 

Youngster Rhys Williams has also been trusted in the heart of defence but failed to impress in Liverpool’s 3-2 FA Cup loss against Man United, leading for calls that the club should dip into the market for a new recruit to help the Reds out of their slump. 

Liverpool have reportedly made contact with ex-Arsenal defender Sokratis, who played under Jurgen Klopp (R) at Dortmund

Liverpool, who have failed to win any of their last five league games, were expected to have Matip back for the United game but the Cameroonian didn’t even make the squad as he contines to be eased back into the team slowly. 

Klopp has previously made no secrets of his desire for a new defender and the club have now acted by making first contact with Greek international Sokratis, as reported by the Athletic. The 32-year-old is a free agent after ending his Arsenal deal by mutual consent last week. 

Sokratis, a vastly experienced player with 463 club appearances and 90 caps for his country, still had six months left to run on his contract but had been left isolated by manager Mikel Arteta, having failed to feature since August.

He knows Klopp well from their time together at Dortmund – the German signed him for the Bundesliga club in 2013 and enjoyed a close relationship for two seasons before the boss left for Liverpool. 

Sokratis forged a relationship with Klopp in Germany and played under him for two years

Liverpool have been forced to field midfielder Fabinho in defence after their injury crisis

However, the report claims that Liverpool have only checked on his situation at present and are not yet in formal talks – with the player likely to link up with Olympiakos in his native Greece.

Sokratis is known for his fiery nature and Klopp once joked that he wasn’t sure if the player ‘wanted to kill him’, a comment the defender laughed off after speaking about his old boss in 2019.

‘I took what Jurgen said as a ­compliment, of course. I had a good relationship with him, having played for him at Dortmund. He was very good with me.’

The Greek defender would have no trouble adapting to Klopp’s style of play at Liverpool 

He started his career with AEK Athens before his commanding displays at the back began to garner attention from Italy. Genoa snapped him up in 2008 before he earned a big move to AC Milan two years later. 

He struggled to fit in at the Rossonneri and was loaned to Werder Bremen – eventually turning the move permanent and later joining Klopp at Dortmund, where he would become a mainstay and make nearly 200 appearances for the club. 

In 2018 he signed for the Gunners in a deal worth around £17m but endured an up and down spell in north London. He was singled out for some costly errors, even after making 40 appearances in his first season and joined the likes of Mesut Ozil and William Saliba in being cast out by Arteta in this campaign. 

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