Liverpool's Lucas Leiva going nowhere until Jürgen Klopp has sufficient defensive back-up in place

Jürgen Klopp will not allow Lucas Leiva to leave Liverpool this summer until he has enough back-up defensively, with a number of his centre-back options set to miss the start of the Premier League season through injury.

Liverpool's Lucas Leiva going nowhere until Jürgen Klopp has sufficient defensive back-up in place
(Picture: Getty Images)

Lucas Leiva will remain at Liverpool at least until Jürgen Klopp has back-up defensive options available, be that courtesy of new signings or players returning from injury.

The defensive midfielder, the longest-serving player in the squad after Martin Skrtel's departure, has once again been linked with a summer move.

Galatasaray are thought to be one of several clubs interested in the Brazilian's services, but Klopp will not allow Lucas to leave while he remains short on options at the back.

Achilles injuries to Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez, as well an ongoing foot problem for Joel Matip, has left the manager short on cover at centre half even with the recent addition of Ragnar Klavan

Though the 29-year-old entered the final year of his contract at Anfield last month, and is unlikely to play regularly once the Reds' defenders return to fitness, Klopp will refuse to sanction any sale for the time being.

The Reds' No.21 - who joined the club from Gremio back in 2007 and has since made 315 appearances - is naturally a defensive-minded midfielder but deputised in a centre-back role several times last term, including in the Capital One Cup final, and exceeded expectations.

Lucas too is currently out injured with a hamstring strain suffered in a pre-season friendly at Huddersfield Town last month, but is expected to be back in contention within two weeks to boost Klopp's options.

Though Lucas could yet be opposed to being behind Matip, Sakho, Dejan Lovren, Klavan and even Gomez at the back - as well as being far down the midfield pecking order - he could still leave this summer.

Klopp reluctant to let Lucas go with lack of cover

Lucas wore the captain's armband for the Reds in pre-season. (Picture: Getty Images)
Lucas wore the captain's armband for the Reds in pre-season. (Picture: Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Klopp indicating that he is not yet done in the transfer market ahead of the 2016-17 Premier League campaign, suggesting that he could recruit further defensively.

But even if he does not welcome fresh faces through the doors at Melwood, the Reds boss will at least wait until he has sufficient protection for the coming season.

Klopp and his medical staff are also thought to be hopeful that Matip, who joined from Schalke earlier this summer, will be available for the trip to Arsenal on August 14.

He missed all three of the Reds' fixtures on their tour of North America with a foot pain complaint and has not yet returned to training after almost three weeks' absence.

Nevertheless, Klavan - initially signed as a back-up option - has performed well in pre-season alongside Lovren and could step in for the Cameroon international for the trip to the Emirates Stadium

Lucas, meanwhile, will be looking to prove himself worthy of a place in Klopp's first-team squad. He almost left for Turkey last season when Besiktas came close to sealing his signature, before the deal was called off because of injury to captain Jordan Henderson.