Liverpool have never made the right signing for Virgil van Dijk, says Rangers FC legend, Ally McCoist. The Reds have the chance now.
Talksport hosted McCoist this week and he discussed the big signing that Liverpool need to make this month. Admittedly, what he called for is the same signing that most fans would likely call for – a centre-back.
Joel Matip’s injury has left Liverpool a little short at the back, particularly as Joe Gomez is covering both full-back positions.
Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté are the only senior centre-backs playing there regularly as a result. Jarell Quansah has stepped up to play a key role, of course.
But things haven’t gone to plan. Both Van Dijk and Matip are into their 30s, too, meaning they’re not long-term options any more. Essentially, it all adds up to leave Liverpool in the market for a centre-back.
Perhaps McCoist’s more interesting comments, though, were about Liverpool’s current options. He believes they’ve never really found a ‘natural’ partner for Van Dijk since his arrival in 2018.
“I think a natural partner for Van Dijk at centre-back [is what Liverpool need],” said McCoist. “I mean Matip and Konaté were in there, Gomez has played there.
“But they’ve never really had a solid, solid defensive partnership at centre-back.”
It’s both true and completely false. Liverpool have never had a ‘solid’ partnership there in that nothing has lasted long-term – all four options have had injury issues. Three of them have had very serious year-long injuries.
And so things haven’t been solid in that regard as Liverpool haven’t really ever been settled at centre-back. Of course, they’re certainly been solid in terms of game-to-game.
The Reds have consistently had the strongest defence in the Premier League since Van Dijk’s arrival. They’ve done that with Matip as his partner, Gomez as his partner and with Konaté there in the second half of 2022.
In fact, they’ve conceded the fewest goals this season with the Frenchman playing regularly over the last couple of months.
So while Liverpool haven’t had a consistent partnert for Van Dijk, it’s been through bad luck more than anything. It certainly hasn’t been a hinderence, however.