Three Ball-Playing Centre-Backs Liverpool Can Target Instead Of Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk
Liverpool were expected to sign Southampton central defender Virgil van Dijk over the summer but the move fell through after the Reds were accused of using illegal means to get to him. Since then, the Saints have been wary of selling him to Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp is in dire need of signing a quality centre-back. Throughout the season so far, their defensive frailties shone through brightly for the whole world to see.
Even though they fielded a brilliant attack, their lacklustre defence cost them a lot of points. Although Joel Matip showed signs of solidity, the likes of Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren have been a massive let-down. A title-challenge may be tough at this point but they still have chances of securing a top-four finish. However, for that to happen smoothly, Liverpool need to sign a ball-playing centre-back that can truly bring about some much-needed stability at the back.
With a move for Van Dijk looking highly unlikely, here are 3 other ball-playing centre-backs who Liverpool can target.
Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
Standing at over 6 feet in height, Koulibaly is similar to Van Dijk in a lot of aspects. The Senegalese has been quite impressive with the ball at his feet and his contributions were quite vital to Napoli’s build-up play last season. His ball-playing abilities have truly elevated the Italian club’s football on the whole and that is something Klopp has been looking for in his centre-backs.
In fact, Koulibaly could also partner well with Matip at the heart of the Liverpool defence. To further strengthen his case, Koulibaly is also adept at tackling and aerial battles.
Javier Mascherano – Barcelona
Much of Mascherano’s prowess at the back is due to the time he spent in the midfield in the initial stages of his career. Despite being a centre-back, Mascherano is quite skilled with the ball at his feet. He has been vital to Barcelona’s success in terms of build-up play and could work wonders at Liverpool. Although the Catalans have quite a few options in that area, none can truly match Mascherano.
Hence, Liverpool could benefit by attempting to sign the 33-year-old. The only thing that could potentially stand in their way is his age. He may not be a long-term solution but for the present situation, Mascherano seems apt.
Leonardo Bonucci – AC Milan
Bonucci was a revelation at Juventus and was a part of the famed Massimiliano Allegri defence that qualified for the Champions League final last season. They lost to Real Madrid eventually but there is no undermining what the Italian did for the club. Although things have not been great for him at Milan, Bonucci could do a lot better at Liverpool under Klopp’s watchful eyes.
His ability to switch play is one of his biggest strengths and his range of passing is also quite admirable. Hence, the Reds could consider targetting Bonucci to address their problems at the back.