Liverpool supporters have been in high spirits in the Transfer Tavern in the last week or so after seeing their team take a giant step towards the quarter-finals of the Champions League courtesy of a 5-0 thumping of Porto in the first leg of their last 16 tie on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their encounter with the Portuguese giants off the back of beating Southampton 2-0 in the Premier League a few days earlier, a result which moved them to within two points of second place Manchester United in the table. And the Reds continued their decent run of form on Wednesday as well as a hat-trick from Sadio Mane as well as strikes from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino secured an easy victory for the Merseyside giants, all but booking their spot in the last eight ahead of the return leg in a fortnight’s time.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Liverpudlians in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are hoping that their side can build upon last week’s sensational win with another against West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Reds fans to discuss, not least recent reports suggesting that reported target Stefan De Vrij looks set to be available on a free in the summer, given that he is not set to sign a new contract with Italian giants Lazio.
And Klopp’s side simply must seal a deal for the £31.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) come the summer, as the 26-year-old would go some way to turning the Reds into genuine Premier League title challengers next season.
Ultimately, it’s the defensive unit which will continue to thwart the Merseyside giants in their quest for a first league title since 1990 – their current tally of 31 goals against in their 27 Premier League games is the most of any side in the top five, and 12 more than fewest conceders Manchester United.
The Reds have gone some way to trying to rectify those issues by luring Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton at the start of the January window, but the Netherlands international’s own struggles have underlined the fact that one man doesn’t immediately make and transform a defensive line.
Yet lining up alongside compatriot De Vrij could do just that, with the duo potentially able to form the sort of formidable centre-back partnership that could inspire Liverpool to the title.
26-year-old De Vrij has played alongside Van Dijk before in the Dutch team and those experiences of playing together and alongside each other can only benefit Liverpool, with both men possessing the key traits a centre-back needs to succeed in the Premier League.
The likes of Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, and Ragnar Klavan have all been guilty of making costly errors and individual mistakes during their respective stints at Anfield, and while all three are solid enough defenders, they just aren’t as good as De Vrij.
Quite simply, going forward Liverpool are a match for any side in the division and perhaps in Europe, but it’s at the back which is preventing them from going on and regularly competing for major honours.
And while Van Dijk’s arrival is certainly a step in the right direction, landing compatriot De Vrij, to play alongside him and perhaps strike up a similar partnership to the Belgian duo of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham, could make the telling difference.
Ultimately, it could turn Liverpool into genuine title challengers for the 2018/19 season.
Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!