By Matt Bullin

Liverpool are set to go head-to-head with Merseyside rivals Everton in the race to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk according to a report.

The Times reports that the 12-time Netherlands international is at the top of Jurgen Klopp’s summer shopping list as he looks to reinforce his defence.

Klopp will be given a significant sum of money to spend this summer, to ready his squad for the Champions League.

Van Dijk has been a rock in Southampton’s defence this term, making 30 appearances in all competitions, although he has been somewhat of an attacking threat too and has netted four goals.

His performances have earned him many potential suitors in the Premier League, with Everton reportedly leading the race to sign him.

De Telegraaf reported in December that Liverpool were sending scouts to watch the Saints centre-back ahead of a possible summer bid.

That looks likely to happen now and Liverpool have a long history of successful transfers with Southampton – Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mané have all made the switch from the south coast to Anfield.

Although the Southampton star is currently out with a foot injury there is still a queue forming to sign him this summer and Liverpool have signalled their intent to land their man.

Football Insider verdict

Jurgen Klopp’s defensive woes have been well-documented this season and van Dijk could be the answer. Ragnar Klavan was brought in as back up this season, but he has had to play a larger role than most Liverpool fans would like to see as injuries has marred Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren’s seasons. The first-choice pairing have only featured together 11 times, and Klopp needs a more reliable man in the heart of his defence. Although Liverpool may have to break the bank to sign van Dijk – he is only 25, he is proven in the Premier League and he has international calibre.

In other Liverpool transfer news, Jurgen Klopp has delivered a transfer update on this 27-year-old (not Sakho).

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