#2 Virgil van Dijk
Ever since Jamie Carragher retired and Daniel Agger left the club, Liverpool have been defensively suspect. Although Mamadou Sakho was an able replacement, he breached certain team rules and was subsequently banished by Klopp. The German manager brought in Joel Matip from Schalke on a free transfer and his composure, reading of the game and technical ability has made a positive impact at the club.
(Video Courtesy: WorldOfFootballHD YouTube Channel)
However, it is the lack of a similar, consistent defensive partner that has led to defensive errors and conceding of easy goals that could have been otherwise avoided. Dejan Lovren continues to blow hot and cold and has been struck by injuries as well, Ragnar Klavan was only bought as experienced squad cover and Joe Gomez is still reaching full fitness after a major injury.
The fact that defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva is being played at centre-back to mixed results underlines the problem further.
This is where signing Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk last summer would have immensely helped the side. Looking at the statistics above, it is abundantly clear that the Dutchman is head and shoulders above the Liverpool defenders and it is no surprise either as he has been one of the best defenders in the league for the past two seasons with his strength, defensive prowess and leadership serving the Saints well.
Combining Joel Matip with van Dijk would have been a masterstroke in solving Liverpool’s defensive issues, as the adage goes, “Great strikers win matches but great defences win championships.”Published 01 Apr 2017, 15:33 IST