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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.
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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:
Times Sport @TimesSport
.@VirgilvDijk excited by opportunity to achieve something special @_pauljoyce hears from the defender whose calm defending has transformed #LFC #MCILIV #UCL https://t.co/JJYCW67E24 https://t.co/eThcFD3DPZ
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.
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:
Jack Lusby @jacklusby_
Clement Lenglet is a bloody good player but he’s a left-sided centre-back and the reality is #LFC already have one of the best LCB’s in world football in Virgil van Dijk. 👍 https://t.co/iqRMAWrTnY
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.