Aaron Long might help ease Liverpool’s defensive crisis.
Liverpool is considering acquiring the United States and New York Red Bulls defender on loan in the January transfer window, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Football Insider’s Wayne Veysey reported Friday, citing multiple sources. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed Thursday the Reds seek a center back “at a reasonable price,” and Long might fit the bill.
Liverpool is enduring a defensive crisis, with first-choice center backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees due to knee injuries, and Joel Matip struggling to maintain his fitness amid numerous ailments. Long at least could provide depth to Jurgen Klopp’s side, which has relied on midfielders and inexperienced defenders at the heart of the back line in recent months.
The Red Bulls reportedly have made Long available for a short-term loan but wouldn’t include an option to purchase him outright this month. The 2021 Major League Soccer season is scheduled to start April 4, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the potential for a work stoppage next month have cast doubt over whether the campaign will begin on time.
A number of European clubs reportedly are interested in acquiring Long, 28, who has developed into one of the United States’ top defenders in recent years. He won the MLS Defender of the Year award in 2018 and helped his team win the Supporters Shield that season. Long has scored three goals in 18 games for the United States and likely will start Sunday in its exhibition game against Trinidad and Tobago.
The January transfer window will close at 6 p.m. ET on Monday. If Long moves to Anfield, he likely would return to his MLS club in late May or early June after the European club-soccer season ends.