Liverpool’s pursuit of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has been no secret this summer. The Reds looked on the verge of signing the ex-Celtic man before Southampton stopped the transfer.
Since this saga, Jurgen Klopp has insisted that he is content with the defensive options he has. At centre-back, the German manager has Joel Matip, youngster Joe Gomez, Ragnar Kavan and ex-Saints’ player Dejan Lovren at his disposal.
As reported by Sky Sports, Klopp expressed how happy he was with his current options. The German said: “I’m happy. You can imagine we are still working on different things and we will see if it works. I am already here to work with this squad and not just always thinking ‘but if we don’t get this or this’.”
He added: “We have four. I don’t think we need more. We cannot force the things and we would never get a centre back just because (of the sake of it).”
But, another spanner has been thrown in the works this evening as Van Dijk, as per the BBC, has made the decision to formally hand in a transfer request – perhaps as a plea to Liverpool to come calling or simply as a last resort as to leave Southampton.
This comes after Klopp’s comments and it remains to be seen whether his stance will change, but, do the Reds’ really need another defender?
From a purely statistical standpoint, it could be argued that the Dutchman is a vital signing. Out of the top six, the Merseysiders conceded 42 times last season, the second highest amount to Arsenal, who were beaten on 44 occasions. This alone would point towards the acquisition of another central defender.
However, the Reds were a side ravaged by injury last season. Klopp’s first choice defenders Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren both had periods on the sidelines, which forced the German to play Estonian Ragnar Klavan and even ageing midfielder Lucas Leiva in a defensive position. He will hope both Matip and Lovren can both have injury-free campaigns this time out.
Liverpool also have the luxury of a fully-fit and very talented youngster in Joe Gomez, who has now fully recovered from his knee ligament injury.
His return comes as a huge bonus to Klopp and his side, with Gomez capable of playing a number of positions. The Englishman is set to be very important in the domestic and European competitions as fixtures come thick and fast.
There is also the small matter of Virgil van Dijk’s transfer fee. Southampton will no doubt be looking for at least £60 million for the 26-year-old defender. A hefty sum, and money that the Reds’ could use to recruit elsewhere, like midfield after news Adam Lallana has suffered a long-term injury, as reported by Liverpool’s official website.
Originally posted on The Boot Room.