By Harry Sykes

BBC pundit Garth Crooks has called on Jurgen Klopp to “pay whatever it takes” to sign Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand this summer.

Crooks explained that he is a big admirer of the England international, 27, and is convinced he would be an ideal solution to Liverpool’s left-back problem.

Klopp has used James Milner as a stop-gap left-back all season after growing fed up with the erratic performances of Alberto Moreno.

Liverpool are keeping tabs on a number of left-back targets ahead of the forthcoming summer window and former Tottenham striker Crooks says they should look no further than Bertrand, who was impressive as Southampton held Klopp’s side to a goalless draw at Anfield on Saturday.

“This lad has become a top-class performer,” Crooks told the BBC Sport website. “To watch his development at Southampton has been a real pleasure. We all knew that he was a player as a youngster at Chelsea – the question was: What sort of player?

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“He showed maturity beyond his years when he surprised us all and performed so well in the 2012 Champions League final in Munich, but it all seemed to come too soon.

“Since leaving Stamford Bridge he has become the master of his own destiny and looks more accomplished the more I see him. Against Liverpool, who appeared to get more desperate with every minute, Bertrand look composed and in control.

“Should Liverpool qualify for Champions League football next season I seriously suggest Jurgen Klopp gets his chequebook out and pay whatever it takes to take Bertrand to Anfield. The player is in that class.”

The five-times European Cup winners have signed no less than five Saints over the last three summers, with Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, Nathaniel Clyne and Rickie Lambert all making the journey from St Mary’s Stadium to Anfield after arriving for over £100million.

Klopp is expected to strengthen again this summer after failing to maintain Liverpool’s Premier League title chase.

Liverpool are reportedly also keen on signing Bertrand’s defensive teammate Virgil van Dijk, with one report claiming he has already reached a verbal agreement to join this summer.

Despite Sunday’s draw, the Merseyside giants are well placed to finish in the top four and will do so if they win their remaining two matches.

In other Liverpool transfer news, Klopp is confident of signing the next Gareth Bale for a bargain price of just £10million as the deal of the summer edges closer.

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