By Matt Farr
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has claimed that Liverpool can win the title if they sign Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk.
The former Arsenal player told radio broadcaster TalkSport that the highly-rated defender could be the difference for Liverpool in their attempts to win the Premier League title.
Van Dijk has been one of the best defenders in the top flight this season, and has drawn the attention of some of England’s biggest clubs.
“For me, I think if Liverpool get together and go and buy Van Dijk for £50million in January, they will take some beating,” he told TalkSport’s Drivetime programme.
“They’ve got the firepower going forward, I just don’t think they’ve got it at the back. I know they’ve done it this season so far, but defensively they aren’t going t0 be good enough [against the big teams].
“But if they can go out and get Van Dijk, I think £50million, that nearly wins you the Premier League.”
Liverpool are second in the league behind leaders Chelsea, but while their attacking displays have been mesmerising to watch, there are still concerns about their defence.
Jurgen Klopp made three defensive additions to his squad last summer, bringing in goalkeeper Loris Karius, as well as central duo Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip.
However, last season’s problems still remain. They have kept just three clean sheets from 13 games this season, and Merson insists Van Dijk is the man to turn things around ahead of their title push.
Southampton, meanwhile, have conceded just 12 league goals all season – only Chelsea and Tottenham have conceded fewer – and have not conceded a goal since the defeat to Hull on November 6.
Despite the interest in Van Dijk from Liverpool and elsewhere, Southampton boss Claude Puel will look to fend off interest at least until the summer – given their own healthy defensive record.
The Saints have often had to rebuild their squad after losing their top stars, having lost the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Victor Wanyama to other Premier League sides in recent seasons.
In other Liverpool news, former Reds striker John Aldridge believes this striker must start against Leeds.