Liverpool’s defence of their Premier League title hasn’t been without its ups and downs. But the Reds remain right up there scrapping for a second Premier League trophy.

After their shock 7-2 demolition by Aston Villa in early October, the side went ten matches unbeaten in the league.

The Villa thumping was a sign of Liverpool’s defensive struggles after a terrible run of luck with injuries. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will miss the majority, if not all, of the rest of this season.

Meanwhile, reserve centre-back Joel Matip and stand-ins Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have suffered fitness problems too. The crisis has led Jurgen Klopp to rely on academy players.

The club has one of the worst defensive records among the Premier League’s top eight. However, Liverpool’s tremendous strength at the other end of the pitch has shown the adage, attack is the best form of defence, rings true.

The recent 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace showed the boot is truly on the other foot now. The Reds looked unstoppable.

But if Liverpool want to retain their title and create a dynasty as in days of yore, Klopp needs to strengthen. Do you win anything with kids?

We take a look at three players we think Liverpool should sign in the January transfer window who would help them march on to further glory.

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1. Kalidou Koulibaly

Virgil van Dijk’s injury in the Merseyside derby dealt a major blow to Liverpool’s fortress-like defence. Without their talisman, the Reds require a leader in the back four. Someone who can lift spirits, spur the team on and provide a goal or two.

Liverpool have struggled for clean sheets since Van Dijk was scythed by Jordan Pickford. They have also lacked someone who radiates leadership on the field.

Kalidou Koulibaly could be the man for this season. The Senegal international could become the Dutchman’s defensive partner in the future after playing a major role in his place.

Koulibaly is quick, reads the game superbly and has an aerial presence in both boxes. He also knows when to dive in and when to stay on his feet.

He may come with a hefty price tag for someone who turns 30 in June. However, Van Dijk’s own transfer fee raised eyebrows when he joined from Southampton.

The Dutchman has helped Liverpool win the Champions League and Premier League, repaying his hefty fee tenfold.

2. Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches is a great midfield option and looks a more reinvigorated player at French side Lilles than the one who endured a torrid time on loan at Swansea City.

Sanches has cemented a regular starting position at the Ligue 1 side and been a formidable part of the club’s transformation into title contenders.

Although he has missed games recently through a knee injury, Sanches has bulked up and become more difficult to nudge off the ball.

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He likes to take players on, link with teammates and look for the killer pass.

He isn’t afraid have a crack, which was evident during Portugal’s 2016 European Championship-winning campaign. Those attributes could be a force in helping Liverpool retain their Premier League title.

3. Luis Alberto

Luis Alberto is a player Liverpool know well. The midfielder was on the Reds’ books but was sold to Lazio in 2016. He can play in a variety of positions and would certainly inject further quality into Klopp’s side.

Should Liverpool require a spark of creativity to turn a tight game, the 28-year-old would be the ideal candidate. He likes to occupy positions further forward, create chances and has a track record of doing it consistently.

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Alberto has managed doubled figures for goals and assists in each of his past three campaigns and could certainly be competition for the seemingly forever injured Thiago Alcantara.

Alberto was involved in 22 league goals last campaign, scoring six and providing 16 assists from 36 games. The previous season, he managed six goals and six assists in all competitions.

The 2017-18 Serie A season saw him score 11 goals and assist 14 times from 34 matches.

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