Joel Matip's summer arrival at Liverpool will lead to a current first-team defender leaving the club in the summer, according to former player Jan Molby. The 24-year-old has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Reds and will move to Merseyside from Schalke at the end of the campaign.
Klopp has used eight players at centre-back from the start in matches this season, with Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure, Tiago Ilori, Steven Caulker, Jose Enrique and Lucas Leiva all taking up a berth in the middle of the back four. The arrival of Matip will swell the options available to the German gaffer, who is expected to streamline his squad in the summer.
With no decision having been made over the future of Caulker – who is on loan until the end of the campaign from Queens Park Rangers – and Kolo Toure and Jose Enrique both being out of contract, it appears that Skrtel, Lovren and Sakho are most vulnerable to being sold on by Klopp. Molby expects one of the trio to be offloaded in the upcoming summer window.
"The imminent arrival of Joel Matip from Schalke in the summer will almost certainly spell trouble for one centre-back at Liverpool," he told the Liverpool Echo. "You have to assume Matip will be the number-one choice. That's why Jurgen Klopp has bought him, to build the defence around.
"We've struggled to find a partnership all season, and the question now is who Klopp will prefer alongside the new signing. He'll have a good idea, and with our squad already well-blessed in terms of centre-back numbers, I'd not be surprised if one of Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel are moved on.
"I've seen Matip play several times. He is a big, strong boy and is very composed, and the fact he has played so many games in a competitive and demanding Bundesliga will serve him well in the Premier League. From within the club, I'm sure they'll be pretty happy with the work they have done in capturing Matip.
"Schalke will have loved to extend the player's stay, and there were sure to be other clubs interested. Liverpool stole a march. This is Klopp's first real significant signing, and it's always good when you can get players in early in areas where you need strengthening.
"As I've said, we're not short on centre-backs. But we've been looking for one to be the defensive linchpin, the one who can pull everyone together and organise the backline. Klopp will hope Matip is that man."