COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Liverpool should offer out-of-favour centre-back Mamadou Sakho as part of a deal to lure Virgil Van Dijk to Merseyside in January after he produced a sensational display during their 0-0 draw.
The two teams went head-to-head at St Marys on Saturday afternoon but Jurgen Klopp’s side were held to a frustrating goalless draw after an excellent defensive display from the Saints.
At the centre, Van Dijk was the rock in Southampton’s defence and the 25-year-old demonstrated qualities which would attract any top Premier League side, including Liverpool.
The Reds centre-back pairing of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have been much-improved this season but Van Dijk would certainly strengthen the defence even more.
Sakho has not played for Liverpool since their 4-0 victory against Everton last season after he was suspended by the club through caution due to an accusation involving the misuse of performance enhanced drugs.
The Frenchman picked up an injury during the pre-season campaign before he was sent home from Liverpool’s tour of America after a dispute with Klopp.
It was believed Sakho would leave the club in the summer to join a European team on loan but he vowed to stay and fight for his position, though it has resulted in weekly appearances for the under-23s side only.
Van Dijk’s contract with the Saints isn’t set to expire until 2022 so it would take a huge sum of money to take him away from Southampton but Liverpool could offer an alternative in Sakho.
The 26 year-old was a valuable player for Liverpool as they reached the final of the Europa League last season and he could be a strong centre-back for the Saints.
Van Dijk’s departure would certainly be a loss but if Liverpool offered Sakho plus a big sum of money, Saints may be persuaded to sell.
Alongside Matip, Van Dijk would add further strength, experience and leadership to an improved Liverpool defence and could be the difference if the Reds hope to win the Premier League title.
In other Liverpool news, this is how the club could be at the top of the table by Christmas.