Liverpool have moved quickly to secure their second deal of the January transfer window, with defender Steven Caulker joining until the end of the season. The journeyman Queens Park Rangers centre-back was previously on a season-long loan at Southampton, but that agreement has now been terminated early in order to allow him to complete a move to Anfield.
Caulker, 24, joins at a time when Jurgen Klopp's side are in the middle of an injury crisis, particularly in defence. All four of the club's senior centre-backs were sidelined for the FA Cup third-round trip to Exeter City last week, with returning loanee Tiago Ilori and forgotten left-back Jose Enrique roped in to form an unconvincing partnership at St James Park.
Klopp revealed yesterday (11 January) that Kolo Toure will be fit for the visit of Premier League leaders Arsenal after suffering from cramp, while Mamadou Sakho is also hopeful of playing following his recovery from a minor knee injury. Dejan Lovren is not yet ready to return from a hamstring problem suffered at Stoke City, though, and Martin Skrtel is still thought to be a few weeks away from being available for selection.
Midfielder Lucas has also been used as a makeshift defender at times, but that is unlikely to be the case again as Caulker has been registered in time to make his debut against the Gunners on Merseyside.
"Liverpool Football Club have completed the signing of Steven Caulker on loan from Queens Park Rangers until the end of the season," the club revealed with a statement on their official website.
"The relevant paperwork has been completed in time to allow the centre-back to be eligible for selection for Wednesday evening's Barclays Premier League fixture with Arsenal at Anfield.
"Caulker, who has Premier League experience as well as being capped by England, showed a willingness to commit to the Reds at short notice. The 24-year-old's arrival eases the injury situation the club are currently facing in defence, which includes both short and long-term absentees."
Parent club QPR and Southampton have also now confirmed the deal. If Caulker does play against Arsenal, it will be only his ninth appearance of the season in all competitions after failing to break into a Southampton side that have performed below expectations thus far.
His one solitary top-flight start for the Saints came during a goalless draw with Watford back in August, while he also featured as a substitute against both Sunderland and Manchester City. The former Tottenham Hotspur graduate will be well aware of Liverpool's attacking talents, having suffered the full 90 minutes of a 6-1 Capital One Cup mauling at St Mary's in early December.