Gary Neville believes Liverpool will dip into the January transfer market for a new defender to replace Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutch defender underwent successful surgery last week after tearing his ACL against Everton following a challenge from Jordan Pickford.
Liverpool are reluctant to put a time scale on his return but it’s likely he will miss the majority of this season.
With Joel Matip and Fabinho also injured, it leaves Joe Gomez as Liverpool’s only senior centre-back, with Nat Phillips brought in for his Premier League debut against West Ham and youngster Rhys Williams possibly starting in the Champions League against Atalanta.
Despite Phillips performing admirably and the Reds having a number of talented young defenders among their ranks, Neville believes Jurgen Klopp will dip into the market for a new defender, having never replaced Dejan Lovren in the summer.
“Liverpool, I thought the signings of Thiago and Jota were clever,” he told the Gary Neville Podcast.
“They supplemented what they already had. It wouldn’t surprise me if in a few weeks time they deal with that issue with Van Dijk and bring in a centre-back just to get through, even if it’s on loan or a more permanent solution.
“I think Jurgen Klopp will be nervous because they will be more exposed. I’m looking forward to seeing Manchester City vs Liverpool next Sunday.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is set for a spell on the sidelines due to an injury suffered during the Merseyside derby. Virgil will face surgery and a rehabilitation process before he is able to return for the Reds.
Of course, we’ll be covering the story right the way through – with all the updates – until van Dijk is back on the pitch in a Reds shirt.
Here’s how you can not only stay up-to-date with VVD’s journey back to first-team action, but also how you can send your support to the recovering defender.
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“That will be a real test and give us a good guide as to where Manchester City are this season and where Liverpool are without Van Dijk.”
“Liverpool, at this moment in time, have an ability to play below their best,” he added.
“We know why. The blow of Van Dijk’s injury must be huge. I played in seasons with Manchester United where Cantona was taken off for the kung-fu kick and Roy Keane got injured at Leeds away and other seasons where you miss big players.
“The impact it has on the dressing room is something that’s significant. But, Liverpool find a way to win when they’re not at their best.
“That’s what champions teams do and they’re champions at this moment in time for a reason.”