Ever since the days of Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, and Sami Hyypia came to an end Liverpool have suffered major problems in defence. It was impressive enough to see them get to a narrow Premier League runners-up finish in 2014 with Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel so it has frequently been discussed about how much better Liverpool would be with a World Class defence. The major investment on Virgil van Dijk has already seemed to be worth it with the Dutchman transforming them but surely they can’t keep going with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan as the alternatives. I’ll look at three defenders I think Liverpool need going into the 2018/19 season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rise to consistent first-team selections and an English World Cup squad have been incredibly impressive for a young footballer and with Andy Roberton down the left, the Reds seemed to have fixed their fullback problems that were left by Alberto Moreno and Glen Johnson. Dejan Lovren might’ve also had a strong end to the season but his performances against Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Manchester United might trigger Liverpool’s activity in the window. So, who is the right candidate to partner Virgil van Dijk in the middle?
Option 1) Matthijs de Ligt
(Image Credit: Daily Star)
The Ajax youth star broke through as a first-team player last year and proved himself in an unforgettable Europa League final and has since then grown into one of the most wanted defenders in the world. Barcelona and Manchester City will be after him but at such a young age, we should hope that he opts for a move to be a first-team regular rather than sit out his career on the bench at Barca. He’s been heavily linked to Spurs to partner up with ex-teammate Davinson Sanchez but even there he isn’t guaranteed first team football so why not come to Liverpool. He’ll create a pairing with his national team’s captain and a strengthened relationship between the two and increased understanding might be key to any future Dutch success.
It wouldn’t be cheap but it wouldn’t be as much as Van Dijk and if Liverpool were prepared to spend 50 million on a midfielder when they missed out on Nabil Fekir, a fee around there for a quality defensive addition shouldn’t be a bad alternative. His performances at Ajax have been excellent, his passion and hunger for victory push him to be a motivated footballer and he’s already proven that he’s capable of being a leader in the defence. Jurgen Klopp surely would be happy to invest in the youngster. At just 18-years-old, he has enormous potential and a long-term deal could allow Liverpool to make a lot more money in the future.
Option 2) Jamaal Lascelles
(Image Credit: Daily Express)
Another option for Jurgen Klopp and his team is the Newcastle centre-back, Jamaal Lascelles. The 24-year-old was pivotal in Newcastle’s 2017/18 campaign. Klopp should be confident that if he went for Lascelles that he could pick him up because Liverpool and Newcastle have a good relationship in the transfer window, as does Rafa Benitez with his former club. That won’t, however, stop him from trying to keep hold of his most valuable assets this summer and Jurgen Klopp will know that he won’t come cheap. One of the main problems with purchasing players domestically in the Premier League is that they are very expensive and a fee between 30-40 million is probably what Newcastle are looking for.
Although Liverpool have long suffered defensive problems and Lascelles would be a great option, there might be a few concerns. Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be expecting a world-class defender this window to replace Dejan Lovren and personally, I don’t think Lascelles would even start. Additionally, Newcastle are at a stage where they must bring in players much more than at a stage that they should be letting their best ones go, especially their own captain. However, Klopp does seem to get the best out of the players he works with, after all, he took Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and James Milner to a Champions League final so why shouldn’t he be able to form a solid partnership between Van Dijk and Lascelles?
Option 3) Kalidou Koulibaly
(Image Credit: Daily Star)
This option would perhaps be the most beneficial for Liverpool but it would also be the biggest investment. The Senegalese defender has been linked with moves to Chelsea, Liverpool and other big European clubs previously and this summer could see his inevitable departure from Napoli. He has proven himself in Italy as one of the best in the business being quick on his feet, confident with the ball and an immense aerial force. He would fit in well with Van Dijk at the back and the strength and aerial dominance that the pairing would provide could help Liverpool mount a title challenge in 2018/19.
The Senegal international is currently in Russia about to start what should be an impressive campaign for Senegal, as they head into the tournament as possible dark horses. This would almost certainly delay a move to after the World Cup and although Senegal’s campaign could be finished earlier than expected, Jurgen Klopp has previously spoken about his desire to work with his new additions in the early part of the summer. Regardless, of when the transfer could be completed, if Liverpool could afford the deal financially, there’s no reason for Koulibaly to not be desperate to become part of Jurgen Klopp’s project that is quickly emerging at the Merseyside club. Is he the right man for Liverpool or could he just be another flop at the back for the Reds?
So, what do you think? Should a centre-back be Liverpool’s number one priority or was Dejan Lovren’s performance in the Champions League final worthy of a reward? If it is their number one priority, which of these three should they go for? Did we miss someone? Let us know by answering the poll below, using the hashtag #AOF or tweeting us at @AllOutFootball_