Liverpool need to bring in another “reliable” centre-half if they are to retain their Premier League crown – the kids will only paper over cracks for so long. 

That is according to Alan Hutton, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams about the injury problems which have been a pox on the heart of Liverpool’s defence since the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

He was speaking after it was revealed that Joel Matip became the latest on a long list of defensive layoffs, joining Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez in the treatment room for at least three weeks.

Echoing the famous sentiments of his namesake and countryman Alan Hansen, Hutton acknowledged that the youngsters have done okay when called upon but claimed that fielding academy graduates is not the way to win a league title – and that Liverpool may want to dip into the transfer market with this in mind.

He told Football Insider: “I don’t think if you’re going to challenge for the title you can rely on young boys.

“It’s good for them to come in and get experience but you need a main figure there. Fabinho’s does well at centre-back but I do think it’s a position where they’ll look to bring someone in to steady the ship, who can play most their games.

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“Not necessarily a Van Dijk but someone who could come in and steady the ship and play most of the games until the big boys are back.

“Somebody you know is gonna come in and perform and be fit and probably ‘reliable’ is the key word.”

Youngsters Rhys Williams, Neco Williams and Natt Philips have all been used in by Jurgen Klopp’s makeshift backline this season.

Liverpool have reportedly made inquiries into the availability of Sven Botman and Ben White with a view to plug the gap at the heart of defence.

In other news, a La Liga expert has given some fascinating insight into a potential Mohamed Salah move to Real Madrid.