Jurgen Klopp has been warned that spending top dollar on a new centre-back risks “rocking the boat” in his Liverpool squad.
The Reds have been linked with a host of central defenders since Virgil van Dijk suffered what could be a season-ending injury.
Fabinho and Joel Matip are also struggling with injuries, meaning Klopp has been forced to use academy graduates Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.
Williams replaced Fabinho in the Champions League, while Phillips earned huge plaudits for his performance in the win over West Ham.
And pundit John Hartson, speaking to Stadium Astro, believes that Liverpool are better off using the options currently at their disposal so not to affect the chemistry within the squad.
“When you look at Jurgen Klopp, he’s got two natural [centre-backs] coming through in Williams and Phillips.
“So he doesn’t want to rock the boat too much.
“If you’ve got them two coming through, you’ve got Matip and also Fabinho who can play there as well as anyone else.
“If you’re playing Thiago, you wouldn’t play him alongside Fabinho in defensive midfield.”
He added: “For me, you’ve got three or four ready-made centre-backs there to cover for van Dijk and play alongside Joe Gomez.
“I don’t think Klopp will do top dollar. I’m not sure whether he’ll pay £75m or £80m for one of the best centre-backs in the world.
“It won’t be £70m, £80m or £90m for the best because he’ll believe in the players he’s also got.
“We’ve seen Phillips. He could come on and become and great player, so he doesn’t want to rock the boat and have too many options.”
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher also suggested that Phillips offered Klopp something different at the back after an impressive Premier League debut.
“It was what he did aerially. What Fabinho and Gomez lack is domination aerially,” he told Sky Sports.
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“When you play against some teams, not necessarily the top teams, but many teams will look to set pieces, direct balls, crosses into the box, second balls.
“Liverpool didn’t deal with that at all against Sheffield United, and that’s what caused them big problems.
“But today, that header at the end from a corner, one of the last kicks of the game, to be the leader and make sure you get your head on it, normally that would be Van Dijk’s role.
“That was a vital header, and it won Liverpool the game really.”
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