Liverpool are reportedly closely following a centre-back who could be Virgil van Dijk’s long-term replacement, despite already having snubbed the Reds.
Liverpool’s defence has been one of the strongest aspects of the team for much of the last few years. Indeed, when they won the Premier League in 2019/20, they conceded just 33 goals.
Last season, despite coming second in a hard-fought title battle, they conceded even less. The Reds shipped just 26 goals in the entire season, the same amount as title winners City.
This season, though, Jurgen Klopp’s side’s defensive stability has come into question. So far this term, they have conceded 15 league goals, just 11 less than the whole of last season.
They are currently ninth in the table, a good few positions lower than would have been expected.
Injuries have not helped matters to this point. The two centre-backs who have seen the most action have been Van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Gomez’s heavy involvement is largely due to both Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate having sustained injuries.
Van Dijk is an ever-present in Liverpool’s backline. The Dutchman, though, has possibly suffered the most from the side’s lax defensive displays.
His record of 70 league games for Liverpool at Anfield without a loss came crashing to an end in the Reds’ last game. Indeed, they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Leeds United thanks to a goal in the 89th minute.
Van Dijk replacement lined up
By no means is it time to see the back of Van Dijk, as his mesmerising record has come to an end. However, the centre-back is 31, and will not play on forever.
As such, Klopp seems to be looking to the future. Tuttomercatoweb reports that Liverpool have got their eyes on a replacement for the dominant centre-back.
The defender they are looking at to fill that role is Perr Schuurs. The 22-year-old moved to Torino from Ajax in the summer, after a good couple of years for Fortuna Sittard beforehand.
The report states that both Liverpool and Atletico Madrid ‘begun to take information in the summer’. It was previously reported that the Reds, along with Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain, were snubbed by Schuurs.
As such, Liverpool may have a task on their hands to snare the centre-back.
Schuurs transfer could go either way
At this point, it is tough to say how much of an impact the Dutchman would have at Liverpool. Clearly there is a good player in there, given the number of big sides that have taken an interest.
He showed his prowess during his time at Fortuna Sittard at the beginning of his career. Indeed, Schuurs contributed to 18 goals from 60 games for the Dutch side while playing in the second tier.
He has been part of a decent defence in his time at Torino. During games he has played, the Serie A side have only conceded more than one goal on one occasion.
However, Schuurs has only played eight games in one of Europe’s top-five leagues so far. As such, it might be too early to know how successful he would be.
While the plan at Liverpool is not clear, it would not be a surprise if he was an understudy for van Dijk in the event that he is signed.
Learning from his compatriot would no doubt give Schuurs a good chance at succeeding, and replacing him at some point down the line.