Has Liverpool loanee Steven Caulker been pulling up any trees lately?

Defender joins Reds as they try to overcome a centre-back shortage

Steven Caulker, Southampton

Picture by: Paul Harding / PA Archive/PA Images

It was no secret that Liverpool were on the hunt for a centre-back due to the injury crisis that has shorn them of Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and others.

But it does come as s surprise that the identity of the newcomer is Steven Caulker.

Of course it is only a loan deal but the one-time England cap who did score in that single international appearance back in 2012 has been off the radar in the mind's eye.

That's mainly due to the fact that the Tottenham youth academy graduate has been down in the Championship with QPR this season after their relegation.

But this season his time with the London club has been only on the books, rather than on the field as the 24-year-old was shipped out on loan to Southampton for the first half of the campaign.

To say it has been underwhelming is an understatement, given that he has only managed eight appearances as he found himself behind captain Jose Fonte, Maya Yoshida and summer signing Virgil van Dijk in the pecking order.

Those appearances have also not been in the most vital games, with five in cup competitions, including a trio of games during Southampton's run in the Europa League qualifiers.

In the Premier League, he was trusted with 90 minutes against Watford in August, a further five at Sunderland three months later and a 55 minute substitute appearance in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City just before the Christmas period.

So on the bright side he will be fresh, but to answer the question, he has not pulled any trees from the ground so far this season since he hasn't had the chance. 

But as Jurgen Klopp has admitted, while simultaneously acknowledging that Caulker's Saints spell did not go well, there is a physical reason why the tall centre-back has been chosen given Liverpool's weakness dealing with crosses in:

"We looked for a good header because that’s what we need – we want to play good pressing, we want to press the opponent and so they have to play long balls.

"If they play long balls, you need people in the last line who can help you with headers and we’ve found it with Steven Caulker."

Expect to see him putting his head where it hurts.