FORMER Newcastle United defender Daryl Janmaat has emerged as a surprise contender to help solve Liverpool’s worsening defensive crisis.

The reigning Premier League champions have lost their two leading centre-halves, with Virgil van Dijk set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious cruciate injury in the Merseyside derby and Joe Gomez also facing months on the sidelines after damaging his knee while on international duty with England earlier this week.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is expected to enter the transfer market in an attempt to address the issue in January, but he first has to guide his side through the next month-and-a-half before the transfer window reopens.

While he cannot sign a contracted player until the turn of the year, he can recruit a free agent immediately, which explains his sudden interest in Janmaat.

The former Newcastle full-back has played at centre-half in the past, and is currently without a club following his release from Watford earlier in the summer. Janmaat was not offered a new deal at Vicarage Road after the Hornets were relegated from the Premier League last season.

The 31-year-old only made ten senior appearances for Watford last term, but is understood to be under serious consideration as Klopp assesses his options.

Janmaat spent two seasons playing with Newcastle prior to joining Watford, making 77 appearances for the Magpies.

Newcastle’s injury problems are nowhere near as serious as Liverpool’s, although the club are yet to confirm the extent of Callum Wilson’s hamstring problems.

Wilson hobbled off during the Magpies’ 2-0 defeat at Southampton prior to the start of the international break, and although there have been indications that his injury issues are not as bad as initially feared, there is still a good chance he will be unavailable for the home game with Chelsea a week on Saturday.

Ryan Fraser is also expected to miss the meeting with Chelsea after suffering a hamstring injury of his own, but Matt Ritchie has returned to training and should be available in eight days’ time.

Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett have also taken part in training this week, having recovered from the injury issues that have sidelined them this season.