Liverpool continue to search for alternatives to Van Dijk after the 2-2 draw in the Merseyside Derby. Their misery was further compounded with Virgil Van Dijk being ruled out, potentially, for the season.
The absence of the Dutchman poses serious question marks over the Liverpool defence, with fans wondering, where are the alternatives to Van Dijk? Further still, Michael Edwards’ transfer decision, to let Dejan Lovren depart has now come under increasing scrutiny. With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip the only two senior centre backs available, the question remains, what alternatives do Liverpool have?
Top Alternative To Van Dijk 1: Sepp Van Den Berg
Following Van Den Berg’s arrival in 2019, the Dutchman has still yet to acclimatise himself with the rigours of the Premier League. A few sporadic first-team appearances followed, most notably in the 5-5 draw with Arsenal, in the EFL Cup last season. At the tender age of just 18, the pressure on Van Den Berg to take over the mantle of Van Dijk, may have come just too soon.
Top Alternative To Van Dijk 2: Billy Koumetio
The Frenchman burst onto the scene during Liverpool’s pre-season tour, somewhat out of the blue, with most Liverpool fans being caught unawares of the starlet’s presence. Jurgen Klopp was impressed so much by Koumetio that he labelled the youngster as “… a big talent,” when asked by LFCTV back in August 2020.
Talent and potential are one thing, however, playing under the spotlight of arguably one of the biggest clubs in world football is another. Nevertheless, Koumetio, at the very least, has put himself in the conversation.
Top Alternative To Van Dijk 3: Rhys Williams
The Englishman had a major breakthrough this season, with a debut in Liverpool’s 7-2 victory over Lincoln City, in the EFL Cup. Partnering Van Dijk at the heart of the defence, Williams cut a composed and commanding figure. Unfortunately, for Williams, Liverpool’s exit in the next round at the hands of Arsenal has dented the centre backs development.
Top Alternative To Van Dijk 4: Nathaniel Phillips
Nathaniel Phillips has become the forgotten man and stayed under the radar somewhat. Following an impressive loan spell at VFB Stuttgart, the centre back has failed to kick on and establish himself as a credible alternative. Could this be the making of Phillips? With Matip and Joe Gomez still being an untested partnership, Phillips could prosper if given the chance.
With Van Dijk out of the picture, Klopp and Co have big decisions to make. Do they promote from within, or go big in the January transfer window? Klopp has always stressed the idea of looking for solutions within. However, with their stalwart centre back now out of the equation, Klopp’s hands could be tied. The question remaining to be answered for Liverpool fans is— Can Van Dijk come back to his imperious best, or better still, go on to reach another level?