COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
Liverpool have long had problems in their back four and it has held them back for a number of years now.
It is clear that Jurgen Klopp needs to add a new member to his back-line and one name that is consistently linked is Southampton star Virgil van Dijk.
The Saints and Liverpool have often been involved in transfer deals in recent years with a number of players succeeding at Anfield.
However, there is a better option for the Liverpool defence at Southampton in Jose Fonte and here Football Insider analyses three reasons why:
Perfect Lovren partner
Liverpool already have one ex-Southampton centre-back in their defence in Dejan Lovren.
The Croatia international spent one-year at the Saints, where he formed an impressive partnership with Fonte, causing the Reds to splash out £20million on him.
It is fair to say that he has never recaptured that form at Anfield, but beforehand he looked like one of the better defenders in the Premier League.
He also plays on the left, like Van Dijk meaning that a rekindled partnership with Fonte would be best for the Croatian.
Short-term plug before Gomez comes in
The highly rated Joe Gomez made his first appearance for Liverpool in over a year against Plymouth on Saturday due to injury.
It marked the 19-year-old’s eighth senior appearance for the club, but the wide belief is that he is still not yet ready to feature consistently for a side battling for the title.
At 33, Fonte maybe has two years left in him at the top level meaning that he can strengthen the defence in the short-term before leaving the position to the emerging Gomez in the future.
The England Under-21 is thought of highly on Merseyside and it would suit the club better if that didn’t have an unhappy player on the bench due to signing a new younger centre-back when Gomez comes through.
Van Dijk is thought of at Southampton by many as the club’s last remaining star player and the Saints are unlikely to let him leave easily with a contract until 2022.
Additionally, other clubs are interested in the Holland international, meaning that a bidding war could start for the centre-back.
Meanwhile, Fonte has handed in a transfer request on the south coast and with his contract set to run out in 2018 he will be purchased much easier.
The difference in value between the two could currently be upwards of £30million and therefore the Portuguese centre-back would be the cheap and safe option for Liverpool.
In other Liverpool transfer news, Jurgen Klopp has issued a hands off warning for this Reds 24-year-old.