Liverpool hero John Aldridge believes the club should target Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly in January to replace the injured Virgil van Dijk.
Last weekend, Van Dijk suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Merseyside derby with Everton after a poor challenge by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Although no return date has been mentioned for the Dutch defender he faces at least six months on the sidelines.
The injury robs Liverpool of arguably the best central defender in the world and leaves a major hole in their backline.
Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are the most senior centre-backs at Anfield after Dejan Lovren was sold in the summer.
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Midfielder Fabinho deputised in central defence earlier this season and did so again on Wednesday as the Blues beat Ajax 1-0 in the Champions League.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be weighing up his options ahead of the January transfer window.
Brighton’s Ben White and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano have been named as possible incomings but Aldridge favours a move for Koulibaly, despite having some reservations about the 29-year-old.
“We’ve got Fabinho who can drop in and even Jordan Henderson at a push but the thing with Van Dijk is he makes everyone alongside him look a better player,” he told the Liverpool ECHO.
“All over the field we’ve got some top top players but if there was one player out of them all who you wouldn’t want to be without for any length of time, it’s the big man.
“He’s played virtually every minute of every game since he arrived and is irreplaceable.
“It’s a big problem for Liverpool, there’s no sugar-coating it.
“What we’ve got to do between now and January 1st is make sure we score more than whoever we’re playing – which we can do with our firepower – and, then even though it won’t be easy for Jurgen to find the right player, go into the transfer market to buy a defender.
“Koulibaly from Napoli would be the one for me, although he doesn’t really tick a lot of the boxes in terms of age and what he would cost.
“But I really think the club is going to have to try and do something, given how long Virgil’s likely to be out for, Matip and Gomez’s injury record and the fact we only had three senior centre halves to start with because they took a gamble on not buying a replacement for Lovren.”
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