Liverpool’s legendary former centre-back Sami Hyypia doesn’t actually believe we need to sign a centre-back this summer.
This is despite the club conceding 42 Premier League goals, 16 more than 2nd-placed Tottenham in 2016/17.
Almost every pundit has earmarked the centre-back position as the area that needs most improvement during this transfer window, but the man who dominated the position for ten years at the start of this century disagrees – despite rating our top target Virgil van Dijk as an excellent player.
“I think it’s important to strengthen the team every year,” he told 5times. “You need to think carefully how you do it, that the chemistry is right and everything.
“I think nowadays the centre-backs are a bit different than before, that maybe the modern centre back, he is very good on the ball, he can play the ball, and maybe sometimes he has difficulties to defend.
“And of course you need to defend in the game, you don’t have the ball all the time.
“Van Dijk is a very good player, I like him a lot, I think he has very good qualities in every area of the game, but I don’t know if it’s essential to sign him or to sign a centre back.”
Liverpool actually kept four consecutive clean-sheets in our final four Premier League matches, thanks largely to the fact Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren started alongside each other on every occasion.
Together, that pair performed well last term, but problems began when one of them was unavailable – which was actually quite often. Without Matip alongside him, Lovren was dreadful, and the Cameroonian similarly was less consistent without his regular partner…
If we could guarantee their combined fitness for a season, we’d agree with Hyypia – but that’s very unlikely and with Champions League football – we need another elite centre-back.
As much as we’d love van Dijk though, acquiring him looks increasingly impossible.