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SEVILLA, SPAIN - APRIL 3: Clement Lenglet of Sevilla FC during the UEFA Champions League match between Sevilla v Bayern Munchen at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on April 3, 2018 in Sevilla Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Liverpool are reportedly keen on Sevilla and France international centre-back Clement Lenglet, who has also emerged as a target for La Liga giants Barcelona.

A report from Spanish source Sport (h/t Metro) said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wants to put Lenglet alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Reds’ back four.

Any deal would involve Liverpool triggering a release clause worth £26 million, as well as fending off Barca. An earlier Sport report (h/t Sport Witness) said the Blaugrana have “already made moves” for Sevilla’s prized defender, who may actually cost as much as €45 million.

Winning any race for Lenglet would represent a significant coup for Klopp. He needs to bring Liverpool’s defensive resources up to the level of the club’s dynamic attack.

Liverpool boast an enviable front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. It’s a group combining pace, perceptive movement and natural flair.

Klopp wants an upgrade next to Van Dijk.

Klopp wants an upgrade next to Van Dijk.ANTHONY DEVLIN/Getty Images

This three-pronged attack will ensure Klopp’s men remain contenders for major trophies next season. Yet making the jump from nearly men to title winners will require more solidity at the back.

Liverpool have netted 78 goals in 34 Premier League games this season, second only to the 93 scored by champions Manchester City. Unlike City, though, the Reds have been generous defensively, surrendering 35 goals.

Things have improved since Klopp invested £75 million, a world-record fee for a defender, in Van Dijk during the January transfer window. After a slow start, the Netherlands international is steadily becoming the linchpin Liverpool have missed at the back for too long.

The Times showed the difference Van Dijk has made before Liverpool’s 2-1 win over City in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg:

Finding an upgrade for Van Dijk’s fellow central defenders, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, is an obvious priority for Klopp. Lenglet makes sense as a target after impressing during Sevilla’s run to the last eight of the Champions League.

The Frenchman bullied Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku during the Spanish side’s 2-1 aggregate win in the last 16.

Lenglet is making strides this season, but not everybody is convinced the 22-year-old would be the right partner for Van Dijk. Among them, Jack Lusby of This is Anfield expressed doubts:

Whether Klopp is convinced Lenglet and Van Dijk can work together will be the decisive factor in whether Liverpool make a move this summer. As a cost-effective talent who would boost an obvious weakness, the Reds will struggle to find better. 

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