Rio Ferdinand has accused Liverpool’s board of ‘sacrificing this season’ by not giving Jurgen Klopp the green light to sign a new centre-back.
The Reds were expected to sign defensive reinforcements this month after losing first-choice pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term injuries.
But there have been no developments with just a few days left of the January transfer window – despite Klopp having had to play both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as makeshift centre-backs.
The noises emanating from Anfield have indicated that Liverpool would only sign a replacement if the right player became available.
But Klopp hinted at his frustration last week when he said he made recommendations “on a daily basis” but acknowledged that he wasn’t in charge of the purse strings.
And Ferdinand has said the Reds’ reluctance to reinforce the rearguard is damaging their title defence.
“You’d think that they would 100% go into the transfer market,” the ex-Manchester United defender told BT Sport ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham on Thursday.
“We’ll find out in due course whose decision it is – is it the people who own the club who don’t want to make the investment, or Klopp saying I’ll bide my time?
“But they’re actually weaker now in two vital areas of the pitch.
“Without the two experienced centre-backs they’re missing in there, and with Henderson and Fabinho forced to play at centre-back, they miss out in central midfield as well.
“So a huge part of the team, and there’s a big void.”
Liverpool went into their clash with Spurs without a win from their previous five Premier League matches – having failed to score on their last four.
Jermaine Jenas said he felt Klopp was probably biding his time while he waited for the right player – as City did with Ruben Dias.
“Put yourselves in Klopp’s shoes as a manager that’s been so successful with this team,” said former Spurs midfielder Jenas.
“Do I rush into something, or do I find a really good fit for us?
“Two of them getting injured [Gomez and Van Dijk] is a problem.
“I can honestly say if I was him, I’d be quite happy knowing [Joel] Matip and Fabinho could fill in for me until I can get the one that I want – like City with Ruben Dias, they were patient and got the one they wanted in the end.
“Maybe Klopp and Liverpool are thinking of something like that. Maybe they’ve got their eye on somebody and know they’ve got to wait.”
But Ferdinand hit back, saying the wait to sign a new centre-back looked set to cost them their silverware ambitions.
“That means you’re sacrificing this season then, in some way, shape or form,” he said.
“Does he think he’s actually going to get through this season and win the league with the inexperience of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams?
“Matip has always had injuries and Fabinho is now picking up injuries.
“I’m not saying you’re going to get your A-Class centre-half right now. But there must be some sort of stop-gap to fill that void.
“Because you’re saying now we’re going to play with a midfield partnership or two very inexperienced players.”
Liverpool suffered a blow ahead of their clash with Tottenham after Fabinho was ruled out with a muscle injury, meaning Henderson had to deputise in defence.