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Replacing weak link Lovren with Koulibaly can be final piece in Liverpool's title jigsaw - Aldridge

2:34 PM GMT+4 07/01/2019
Dejan Lovren Liverpool Newcastle
The former Reds striker feels another centre-half deal, similar to that done for Virgil van Dijk 12 months ago, will carry Jurgen Klopp's side close

Dejan Lovren remains “a weak link” at Liverpool and replacing him with Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly could provide “the final piece of a title-winning jigsaw”, says John Aldridge.

The Reds have invested heavily in recent transfer windows, with their sights sight on a new centre-half 12 months ago.

A big-money January deal was done with Southampton to acquire Virgl van Dijk, with a £75 million ($96m) price tag making the Dutchman the most expensive defender in world football.

The Netherlands international has offered an immediate return on that investment, so impressive has he been, but there is a feeling he still needs a proven option alongside him.

Croatia international Lovren has failed to convince in that role, on the back of another disjointed display in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, while Joe Gomez is currently sidelined and still learning his trade at 21 years of age.

Former Liverpool striker Aldridge told the Irish Independent of the need for reinforcements and why Liverpool should consider a raid on Serie A.

"This is not a moment for Liverpool to hit the panic button," he said. "But I would urge the club to consider making a move in the transfer market that could allow them to fit the final piece of a title-winning jigsaw into place.

"Dejan Lovren was a weak link in the defence once again as Jurgen Klopp’s men lost their first Premier League game of the season at Manchester City on Thursday. And I suspect the Croatian will need to be replaced sooner rather than later if this team are to turn potential into success.

"We have seen the impact made by Virgil van Dijk since his £75m arrival last January and I wonder whether a move for a powerhouse defender like Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly could give Klopp’s side the bit they need at the back.

"Top-quality opposition continue to get joy out of targeting Lovren, as he as a tendency to lose concentration and this is why I believe Van Dijk needs an A-list defensive partner."

Jurgen Klopp has suggested that there will be little movement at Anfield during the January transfer window.

Klopp has already allowed Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke to link up with Bournemouth on respective loan and permanent deals, but is not actively seeking replacements.

It could, however, be that the German is tempted into the market if a suitable option becomes available or a scramble is sparked for a player identified as a potential future target.