Liverpool may be tempted to make a “stellar” signing such as Kalidou Koulibaly in January, says Don Hutchison, with the potential there for the Reds to counter the loss of Virgil van Dijk to injury and piece together a “sensational pairing” for the future.
A reckless challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during an eventful Merseyside derby has left Van Dijk nursing knee ligament damage and requiring surgery.
His absence promises to hit Jurgen Klopp’s side hard, as he has become an integral part of Champions League and Premier League title-winning plans, with there currently no cover of a similar standard on the books at Anfield.
That could change when the next transfer window opens, with Hutchison among those tipping Liverpool to dip back into the market for another proven centre-half.
The former Reds midfielder has told ESPN FC: “You get a general feeling when you are watching a side, whether it be Tottenham and it’s Harry Kane or Man United and Bruno Fernandes or Man City and Sergio Aguero, you have a feeling as a fan and wonder who’s the one person that you wouldn’t want to lose out of this Liverpool side to a long-term injury?
“If it happened to [Sadio] Mane or [Mohamed] Salah or [Roberto] Firmino, there are people like [Takumi] Minamino and [Diogo] Jota who can fill in, likewise in midfield.
“But you take Virgil van Dijk out of this Liverpool side - arguably one of the best centre-halves in Europe, the best by a country mile in the Premier League – it’s going to dent the optimism of Liverpool fans believing they can hold onto the title.
“If they can try and get through to January, with the window not too far away, it might push Jurgen Klopp, the staff and the guys above him to maybe go for a Koulibaly or one of those stellar signings to try and sure up that problem.
“Then when Virgil van Dijk does come back, you could have a sensational pairing.
“I just think if you take him out of the side, and Alisson is missing for the next couple of weeks or months, that’s a difficult ask to go unbeaten and rack up the wins.”
Liverpool have seen a move for Koulibaly mooted in the past, with the Napoli defender widely considered to sit alongside Van Dijk in the pool of finest centre-halves in European football.The Senegal international’s current employers have, however, made it clear that they will not be parting with a prized asset on the cheap and those at Anfield will need to dig deep again if another commanding option is to be brought in.