Jurgen Klopp confident in Liverpool defensive options, backs Joe Gomez to flourish

LIVERPOOL, England -- Jurgen Klopp believes he is well-stocked with options at centre-half for the season as Ragnar Klavan looks set to leave Liverpool.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Klavan is in Italy ahead of completing a £2 million move to Serie A side Cagliari.

A source said Klopp personally sanctioned Klavan's potential departure, having been encouraged by Joe Gomez's performances at centre-back and the return of Joel Matip from a thigh injury.

Nathaniel Phillips, a 21-year-old central defender from the club's academy, impressed during preseason, while summer signing Fabinho can also be utilised in the position.

With Matip and Dejan Lovren out injured, Gomez partnered Virgil van Dijk in the heart of the defence for Liverpool's 4-0 win over West Ham United in last week's Premier League opener.

"I was never in doubt about Joe and his ability to play at centre-half, but he needed time after a long injury," Klopp said of his defensive options at a news conference on Friday. "Now he is fit, which is good.

"He's a very good football player and played the position good together with Virgil. They have a very good understanding -- on a personal level as well. That's really cool.

"But we have the others as well and Joel is close to being back. [He will] hopefully be able to be in the squad on Monday. So we have him, Dejan is still a bit injured, we have Nat Phillips. And if we need then Fabinho can play the position as well.

"We have enough players and we have to see who fits to which opponent and then we make a lineup."

Klavan, 32, has entered the final year of his Liverpool contract and wants to finish his career playing regularly, with his game-time at Anfield set to be severely limited this season.

There are a number of other Liverpool players on the fringes -- Simon Mignolet, Divock Origi, Marko Grujic and Pedro Chirivella -- that could also depart prior to the close of the European transfer window at the end the month.

"First of all, I didn't hear that anything [about Klavan] was finally sorted, so nothing to say from me about that," Klopp said. "But I said before in general that it was possible that players would still leave the club, and if that happens then it would have to be good for all sides. We will see what happens.

"It's about the situation, how is the offer, how is the need for us? Can we give the player the opportunity if he wants to leave?

"That's the problem of the transfer window. We close in England and the whole of Europe is waiting for that moment and now starts trying to dump prices or whatever to get good players. That will not happen. We are not in financial need.

"I want a very good squad and the more players the better. But I really think we could give a few players the opportunity [to leave] but we have to see what happens. I have no number in my mind."

Liverpool, who sit top of the Premier League after the first round of matches, face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night.

"Yes the start was good, but that's already done, pretty much," Klopp added. "And yes the feeling around the club is good, but that's only because of the performances and the results we got. We have to do that again and again and again.

"We feel in a good moment. It's getting better and better, which is important. We are still in a process, we have to develop. We are not the best team in the world, so there's a lot of space for us to improve in all departments."