Hamann: Van Dijk not enough to make Liverpool title challengers
Liverpool spent big to bring in Virgil van Dijk, but the defender may not prove decisive to their title hopes, according to Dietmar Hamann.
Former Liverpool player Dietmar Hamann believes his old side need more than just Virgil van Dijk to consistently challenge for titles.
The Reds broke the transfer record for a defender when they paid Southampton a reported fee of £75m for Van Dijk at the beginning of January, in an attempt to solve their long-standing issues at the back.
And although Hamann hailed the new signing, he feels a defensive midfielder is also necessary to provide stability.
"[The defence has] been an issue for a long time," he told Omnisport.
"I think Van Dijk will improve them, I think he brings pace and a physical presence to the team but I think they lack a holding midfielder.
"I think they've lacked that holding midfielder for a while now so unless they bring in someone who really protects the back four, I think Van Dijk will improve them but not as much as I think they need to be improved to really challenge for titles on a consistent basis."
Hamann made 283 appearances for Liverpool, most notably winning two FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League, but a holding player with the German's characteristics is perhaps absent from the current squad.
The options available to manager Jurgen Klopp include club captain Jordan Henderson and Emre Can, who is in the final six months of his contract and has been heavily linked with a switch to Juventus.
Hamman – who, like Can, spent his formative years in the Bundesliga before moving to the Premier League – does not see his compatriot as the answer, and feels Liverpool should not be overly concerned by the midfielder's contract situation.
He said: "I would like to see him at Liverpool still next season but at the same time Liverpool gave him the opportunity to play in a very good team and if he were to go, yes he'd be a loss in a way but I wouldn't be held to ransom by a player who has performed OK, because OK for Liverpool is not good enough."
Dietmar Hamann was speaking on behalf of TAG Heuer to promote the TAG Heuer Premier League Pressure Test (http://tagheuerpressuretest.com/). TAG Heuer is the Official Timekeeping Partner of the Premier League