Matthijs de Ligt is definitely the most sought after center back in the market. His skill set, as well as his maturity that is beyond his years, can be a long term solution for several teams. His name has been mentioned with several top teams partially due to the genuine interest shown and also to increase his already sky-high price tag. PSG, Manchester United, Barcelona were some of the top teams who were mentioned to be interested along with Liverpool.
Liverpool’s interest has never been confirmed by anyone close to the club. It is more of a storyline based on pairing Van Dijk with his national team partner and have him join the hottest team in Europe at the moment to add to its youth. Does Liverpool really need a top level CB? More importantly, can it afford to spend so much for a position that seems to be a strength for them? Internet is full of discussions between fans who insist on Liverpool’s need to go after de Ligt while others argue that the roster is already full of quality center backs.
As fans, we all have a very short term memory when it comes to player performances. If the question for the need to sign De Ligt was posed halfway through the season, most would be against it referencing the performance of Gomez who was in excellent form. The duo of Gomez and Van Dijk looked like it was going to be the foundation of a strong defense for years to come and the team was recording clean sheets at a record pace.
Injury to Gomez came at a bad time and an unlucky sequence of injuries in the same position left Liverpool with only Van Dijk as the healthy CB. Liverpool were forced to use Fabinho in defense and he performed well even though he was caught out of position at times. With Van Dijk controlling the back line, Liverpool survived the injury scare while we waited for Matip and Lovren to be fit to start. Matip’s performance during the second half of the season, especially towards the end of the season, has even caused some fans to speculate he can start over Gomez to start for this team. Lovren will also be available in the new season and he is the best defender in the world as we all know. Let’s not forget
There is no doubt that the trio of Gomez, Matip, and Lovren have had injury problems in the past and are not the most reliable when it comes to staying healthy. Lightning does not strike twice though and the likelihood of having 3 of our center backs being injured at the same time is very unlikely and we now know that in such an emergency, Fabinho can fill in the role. While the odds of having a similar injury plague at the CB position is unlikely, having a similar issue in our front three is more likely when it comes to odds. Liverpool were fairly lucky when it came to the health of the front three and suffered noticeably especially when Firmino was not able to start. The money would be much better spent focusing on strengthening our front line and having good alternatives to give players like Mane and Salah rest at times while not suffering in quality. Our squad still does not have a true replacement for Bobby and even though Origi has shown he can contribute with key goals, he cannot duplicate what Bobby brings through his movement and defensive pressure.
When it comes to bolstering the defense, Liverpool would be much better served in investing a player who can backup Trent or Robertson and also able to fill in at CB if needed. A versatile bench player will provide much-needed rest for a number of players and the big bucks can be spent on an impact attacking player who can give us more options and a deeper bench.
Looking at our roster and current depth, De Ligt would be a luxury at the moment. While we all would want the best players to play on our team, money spent and wage structure has to be considered for sustained success going forward. Liverpool has a quality squad who just challenged City until the last whistle of the season and won the Champions League. Finding players to improve this roster is more challenging than improving the quality of the roster we had 3-4 years ago. I have faith in Klopp finding the right players at good value especially for depth and hoping that the bigger signings if we make any, are for midfield and the front three.