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Liverpool finally bolstered their defensive options by signing Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Preston’s Ben Davies as the clock ticked down to the end of the Premier League transfer window on Monday.
The January window, which closes at 2300 GMT, is typically regarded as a seller’s market and often a time for stopgap measures but Liverpool have been forced to act.
The champions are missing all of their senior central defenders, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip out of action.
Fabinho, who had impressed at centre-back after moving from his usual midfield position, recently joined the injured list while captain Jordan Henderson, who usually plays in midfield, has been forced to deputise at the back.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had been suggesting for several weeks that a replacement centre-back would be a major lift for his team.
Klopp got his wish at last as the Reds brought in two defenders in the final hours of the transfer window.
Kabak joined on loan until the end of the season, subject to international clearance.
The Premier League champions have paid an initial £1 million ($1.37 million) loan fee with the option to buy for £18 million at the end of the season.
The 20-year-old arrives after two years in the Bundesliga, where he played for Stuttgart before joining Schalke in July 2019.
He previously gained Champions League experience at Galatasaray and has won seven caps for Turkey.
Davies, 25, signed for an initial fee believed to be £500,000, plus future add-ons.
Klopp conceded signing a relatively unknown player from the second tier was a move forced by financial restraints of the pandemic and Liverpool’s injury woes.