'Glaring weakness' - Redknapp urges Liverpool to make £60m signing
By Harry Sykes
Jamie Redknapp has insisted in the Mail that Liverpool must fork out £60million to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton this month.
The high-profile pundit and former midfielder claimed the 6ft 5in Holland international can bring a commanding presence to a backline that has a “glaring weakness” at defending set pieces.
Redknapp was highly critical of Liverpool’s inability to deal with corners and free-kicks in their opening-day 3-3 draw at Watford, with the first and third of the home side’s goals coming from corners.
Since Jurgen Klopp took charge at Anfield in October 2015, the Merseysiders have conceded 27 goals from set pieces, a tally far higher than any of last season’s top six and nearly double of Tottenham, who had the best defence in the Premier League last season.
“Liverpool’s abject defending from set-pieces at Watford shows why they must splash out £60million on Virgil van Dijk,” Redknapp wrote in his weekly Mail column.
“There are no leaders in that Liverpool defence. At corners, no one wants to take responsibility and clear the ball.
“When you mark zonally, as Liverpool do, you need players to attack the ball. At Vicarage Road they were twice punished for standing like statues at corners.
“It is no surprise that under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have conceded the most from set-plays of the big six sides.
“You look at Tottenham, who have conceded the fewest, and they have Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama — leaders across the team.
“Klopp knows there is a glaring weakness in his team. He needs to address it by bringing in Van Dijk.”
It has been widely reported that Liverpool are trying to sign the centre-back from Southampton despite publicly bowing out of the race to sign him.
Liverpool issued a public apology to the Saints in June and withdrew from their pursuit of the giant defender after being reported to the Premier League over an illegal approach.
However, Van Dijk was not involved in Southampton’s 0-0 draw against Swansea on Saturday and appears to still have his heart set on a move to Anfield even though he signed a new contract last summer that runs until the summer of 2022.