10 Free Agent Defenders Liverpool Could Sign as Cover for Virgil van Dijk – Ranked

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10 men who, despite not having a club at all, could definitely replace Van Dijk… no problem | CATHERINE IVILL/Getty Images

Liverpool have just the two senior centre backs until at least January then. Good. Ideal.

Don’t tell me you haven’t already scoured the web for all the still-available free agents who can play at centre back, since Saturday afternoon’s incident.

Let me break down for you the ‘best’ unattached centre backs out there who could come in post transfer deadline to paper over the massive Virgil van Dijk-shaped void.

Note: If you thought Steven Caulker was an odd signing, brace yourself…

Most recent club: Lyon

Remember him from his 18 months at Newcastle between 2013 and 2014 when he became only the second player from the Central African Republic in the Premier League? No?! Call yourself a Barclays fan…

Most recent club: CSKA Sofia

Pros: Has scored against Real Madrid
Cons: Couldn’t get a game for Derby five years ago.

Most recent club: Al-Fateh

One cap for Portugal, Pinto’s career was petering out at home before he moved to Saudi Arabian side Al-Fateh for… entirely football reasons.

Ben Thompson, Ryan ShottonBen Thompson, Ryan Shotton
Ryan Shotton going all WWE against Millwall | Warren Little/Getty Images

Most recent club: Middlesbrough

A regular under Tony Pulis, Shotton is not a ‘ball-playing centre back’. He does, however, own a pub in Staffordshire. So, depends what you’re after really.

Jozo SimunovicJozo Simunovic
Look at him fly | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Most recent club: Celtic

Only 26 and with top-level European experience, what’s the catch?

Well, injuries mainly. Simunovic, who was a regular for Croatia at youth level, is riddled with knee problems. So much so that even Trabzonspor and Rijeka pulled out of summer moves to sign him.

Shame, because when he’s fit…

Swansea City v Bristol City - Sky Bet ChampionshipSwansea City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Oh no… | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Most recent club: Bristol City

Once a fine player indeed, Ashley Williams is now 252 in dog years, moves at the speed of fingernail growth and hasn’t played a Premier League game since 2018.

Also that last game was, of course, for Everton.

Most recent club: Werder Bremen

A BuLi regular for the last decade, Langkamp once scored a 40-yard sliding tackle.

Maybe worth a short-term deal for that alone to be honest.

Adrian MariappaAdrian Mariappa
Mariappa can point like VVD at least | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Most recent club: Watford

The defender with Jamaican and Fijian heritage has over 150 games’ worth of experience in the top flight, including 18 outings in the 2019/20 campaign when Watford… oh. Right. Yeah.

Daniel SchwaabDaniel Schwaab
This is who Daniel Schwaab is | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Most recent club: PSV

Left PSV to be closer to his family in Germany apparently but would he really give up the chance to make half a dozen domestic cup appearances for Liverpool??!

The 2009 Under-21 Euros winner is versatile and a reasonable passer by all accounts. He has also played over 100 times in Germany and Netherlands’ top flights, as well as a fair few Champions League outings.

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Most recent club: Valencia

And here we are at number one.

While well past his very best, no-one else on this list even comes close to Garay pedigree-wise, with the Argentine veteran having played in a World Cup final, turned out for Real Madrid and won trophies in four countries. He’s also got an Olympic gold and was once a long-term target for Manchester United.

The downside? He’s only just recovering from his own cruciate ligament injury. Oh for f—

Maybe just give Rhys Williams a go?

Let’