Phil Thompson picked out the three players he thinks Liverpool will target this summer with it becoming a tradition to visit the South Coast and return home with a Southampton player at least once a year.
Despite having signed all of Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert from Southampton in the last three years for over £100 million, Liverpool hasn’t had enough.
It has been widely reported that Liverpool is targeting a £50 million move for Saints man Virgil Van Dijk this summer. The Dutchman would slot in perfectly alongside Jöel Matip and would bring an increased level of security to a backline which lacks any authority.
The main reason Liverpool’s title challenge failed so early on this season was the total lack of an authoritative backline or even reliable defenders. When injury or suspension struck one of Dejan Lovren or Matip, the Reds suddenly looked sub-par.
Writing for Sky, Phil Thompson identified the three players that he thinks would make Liverpool a better side and right at the top of that list is Van Dijk’s name.
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Thommo wrote, “I’d straight away say Van Dijk, who I have always rated. The way he plays the game would make him a perfect fit for a Klopp team.”
Personally, if I were to choose between any of the marquee signings linked with Liverpool this summer, I’d certainly pick Van Dijk before the likes of Naby Keita or Alexandre Lacazette.
The attack at Klopp’s disposal is capable enough, I’d say. With 71 this season in 35 games, the Reds have been promising up front but it’s the defence I’d reinforce before anything else as conceding 42+ goals every season is not good enough for a side with aspirations of winning the Premier League.
For that reason, I hope the reports claiming Van Dijk has verbally agreed to join Liverpool are true.
Another player already linked with Liverpool that Thommo reckons is a target for Klopp is Ryan Bertrand. The Englishman has established himself at Southampton as one of the Premier League’s most efficient fullbacks since moving to the club in 2012.
Liverpool’s issues at left-back are well-documented and Bertrand is a player that could take care of them for Klopp. He wouldn’t come cheap, what with Southampton charging Liverpool a premium and the player entering the prime of his career. He’d presumably cost between £20-30 million to sign.
If reports are to be believed, Liverpool is interested in Bertrand but will be rivalled by his former employers Chelsea this summer, with Antonio Conte looking to add depth at wingback.
An interesting pick from Thommo and one of the few Saints players who hasn’t yet been linked with Liverpool is Oriol Romeu.
With Lucas Leiva ageing and constantly rumoured to be on his way to Turkey, signing a player in Romeu’s mould be an astute move from Klopp. As a tough tackler and a brilliant passer of the ball, the Spaniard would fit into the side well.
Thompson wrote for Sky, “There might be a bit of interest as well in Romeu, who has had an excellent season and does exactly what it says on the tin. He’s a destroyer, he’s got a great attitude and passes the ball very well.”
That being said, even though he’s a player that Liverpool could benefit hugely from, you just know that Klopp will sign a winger before he does a holding midfielder.