Liverpool implored to replace ‘daydreaming’ defender as expert explains delay over plans for top-level target

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold

One under-pressure Liverpool defender has been called out as someone the club might need to sign an upgrade on during the summer transfer window.

Liverpool’s defence has come under scrutiny almost as much as their midfield in recent weeks. Virgil van Dijk remains their main man at centre-back, but seems to have lost the fear factor he once instilled in opponents.

That said, the Dutchman is far from Liverpool’s main problem at present. In theory, he is still of the level required to be a regular starter next season.

Who will be lining up alongside him remains up for question. Currently, he would be most likely to partner either Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate or Joe Gomez.

But there have been claims that Matip’s time as a Liverpool player could be up at the end of the season. Furthermore, calls have been growing for Gomez to potentially be replaced.

Now, the England international has been namechecked among some of his colleagues as a player who has failed to provide consistency alongside Van Dijk this season.

Pundit Frank McAvennie told Football Insider: “They need another top drawer centre-half to go with Van Dijk.

“The boys around him, the likes of Gomez, are doing alright. But they need that consistency and that is what top centre-halves give you.

“I think these boys are alright for two games and then they start daydreaming.

“If Van Dijk gets injured, you saw what happened, they were all over the place. I think they need that.”

Liverpool waiting to see if they can afford highly rated defender

In terms of centre-backs who could arrive at Anfield, there is understood to be interest in RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol.

TEAMtalk has been told Liverpool are among the Croatian’s admirers, though it is obvious he won’t come cheap.

Given the competition for his signature, Gvardiol’s chances of joining Liverpool may depend on whether Jurgen Klopp’s side can secure Champions League qualification for next season.

Journalist Ben Jacobs has recently told Give Me Sport: “Liverpool have been tracking Gvardiol for quite some time along with a number of other clubs.

“Chelsea almost managed to sign him last summer but no price was reached. So, Liverpool could well be there, but it’s a balancing act at this point.

“I think it’s very important to stress with Liverpool that they will not know their budget until they know if they’ve got Champions League football.”

Of course, Liverpool’s shortlist will also include other names, who might be cheaper but still useful. Whatever happens, they need to rediscover some stability in the spine of their team.

Plans will be being made for their midfield and defence, in the hope that they can settle on some shrewd signings to upgrade their squad after what has been – and may continue to be – a rollercoaster season.

READ MOREKlopp told top two Liverpool targets will cost ‘minimum of £180m’ as oracle claims 184-game star ‘could leave’