Pearce explains the ‘vital’ transfer business Liverpool must complete

James Pearce has claimed that it’s ‘vital’ for Liverpool to sign a central defender this summer despite him tipping Virgil Van Dijk to ‘come back strong next season’.

Ibou Konate is Jurgen Klopp’s first choice option to partner our No. 4 at the heart of his defence with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez appearing to have to settle for back-up roles for the majority of the previous campaign.

If the Reds can sign a new centre-back and two more central midfielders to join Alexis Mac Allister then they ‘should be well equipped’ for the new season according to the Athletic Journalist.

“I think signing another centre-back is vital, especially if Klopp is going to persevere with a system that asks so much of the right-sided centre-back in terms of covering the space vacated by Alexander-Arnold,” Pearce wrote in his Mailbag for The Athletic. “Konate did that job very well during the run-in but, as you rightly point out, he’s had his fitness troubles. I wouldn’t say Van Dijk is in sharp decline. He wasn’t at his brilliant best for most of last season but he was also regularly left exposed by the team’s glaring weaknesses in midfield. I expect Van Dijk to come back strong next season.

“As for Gomez, it’s hard to build rhythm when you don’t get regular minutes. He’s homegrown, still relatively young and can cover two positions — so I wouldn’t be moving him on this summer. Finding Matip’s successor is the key for me. Sign a centre-back and two more midfielders and Liverpool should be well-equipped for 2023-24.”

READ MORE: James Pearce explains Jorg Schmadtke’s role as Liverpool seek to strengthen during summer transfer window

There’s no denying that van Dijk struggled at times last term and that has led to some suggestions that the Netherlands captain is now past his best.

Those claims are extremely harsh, however. Our backline was often left exposed during the previous campaign due to our underperforming and fatigued midfield so if we can strengthen our engine room that will may also allow the former Southampton man to return to his best form.

There’s no better defender in world football when the 31-year-old is at his best and alongside Konate we have a quality partnership.

The Dutchman is now the wrong side of 30, though, and we also have Joel Matip approaching the final year of his current deal and Joe Gomez struggling for form so now is a great time to bring a young, yet talented defender.

Adding reinforcements in midfield should be the main priority but further strengthening our backline would also be a wise move.

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