Martin Keown says Liverpool should make a move for Jannik Vestergaard at Southampton to ease their defensive issues.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffering long-term injuries and Joel Matip still struggling with consistent niggles, manager Jurgen Klopp was forced into playing Fabinho and Jordan Henderson at centre-back against Southampton.
Klopp has played down the prospect of bringing in a centre-back in January, with youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams also able to provide depth in the position.
Yet, speaking on talkSPORT, Keown argued that Klopp’s decision to play to midfielders at centre-back will damage the young players’ confidence and that the Reds boss should instead find an actual defender in January.
Keown pinpointed Vestergaard, whose Southampton contract ends in 18 months, as the sort of player the Reds should target.
“It’s an issue, a problem,” he said.
“I was looking at Vestergaard playing at Southampton and, I’ll say this on record, I’ve not seen a better central defender this season.
“I looked at his contract situation and I’m not trying to cause an issue with Southampton but I thought it’d maybe be a player Jurgen Klopp would go after.
“He’s been brilliant this season, he’s injured at the moment, but it doesn’t appear Jurgen is going to do that. He’s got youngsters there, Phillips and Williams, but he’s also playing two midfielders in those positions, which will take away something from the confidence of those young men as well.
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“It’s not an easy situation for him at the moment. Gomez and Van Dijk are two brilliant central defenders and he needs them back quickly but I’m not sure they’re going to make this season.”
Speaking about Vestergaard, Keown said his performances have been reminiscent of Van Dijk, who, coincidentally, the Reds signed from Southampton.
Keown said: “He reminds me of Van Dijk. I call it a stationary platform, where you don’t run with the ball, you stop.
“If you look at those two, the way they ping balls and thread them into midfield, the challenges, he’s a big man.
“Of course Southampton aren’t going to let him go but it’s really a testament to the work being done at Southampton how much they’re catching the eye at the moment.
“They were brilliant in that victory over Liverpool, you have to say.”