By Harvey Byrne
Paul Merson has claimed that if Liverpool obtained Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk in January then they would go on to win the league.
The Reds are currently sat in third place with a game in hand following Tottenham’s 4-0 victory over West Brom on Saturday.
Despite their high placing the Merseyside giants also have the joint worst goals against tally in the Premier League’s top seven.
The defence has been a problem are for Liverpool for a number of years now and one player they have been heavily linked with is Van Dijk.
Now Merson believes that if Liverpool secured the Holland international defender’s signature in January then they would go on to win their first Premier League title.
“If you go on about the two best teams in the world and what people say are Real Madrid and Barcelona,” started Merson speaking on Sky Sports News on Saturday afternoon.
“He (Van Dijk) would walk into both them teams. So for me if Liverpool or Manchester City went in for him now, Manchester City or Liverpool would win the league.”
Van Dijk, 25, has become one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League after moving to Southampton in the summer of 2015 for a £13million fee.
He starred for the Saints team which finished in sixth place, conceding just 41 goals last season.
He has continued with his impressive form in the new campaign and is a key reason why Claude Puel’s team are sat as high as 10th with the second joint worst goals for tally in the top flight.
However, Van Dijk did sign a new contract in May taking him up to 2022, meaning the Saints’ valuation of their star could prove too much for a number of clubs
Football Insider verdict:
Southampton aren’t going to sell Van Dijk in this transfer window. The club have already had a transfer request handed in by Jose Fonte and it is unlikely that they will allow two players from the same position leave in one window. It is expected that they will do the same with the Dutchman as they did with Morgan Schneiderlin in the 2014 summer exodus and look to get another half season, or more out of the player before allowing him to leave when a future bid comes in. However, Liverpool are in desperate need for a centre-back and may not be able to wait that long if they do have title aspirations. This means that Jurgen Klopp must look for alternative targets if he is to bring the Reds their first league title.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Reds are closing in on a deal for this attacker.