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Liverpool have been urged to not “rock the boat” by signing a centre-back for £70m-plus to replace Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutchman’ ACL tear, which will keep him out for most of the season, has seen Jurgen Klopp experiment with some different formations in defence.
Fabinho was partnered with Joe Gomez before picking up an injury in the Champions League win over Midtjylland.
But it did see academy star Nat Phillips get his chance in the 2-1 win against West Ham while Rhys Williams replaced the Brazilian midweek.
And John Hartson, who made Premier League appearances for Arsenal and the Hammers, believes Klopp’s alternatives have made a strong case against the Reds spending on a new centre-back.
Speaking to Stadium Astro, the former forward said: “When you look at Jurgen Klopp, he’s got two natural [centre-backs] coming through in [Rhys] Williams and [Nat] Phillips.
“So he doesn’t want to rock the boat too much.
“If you’ve got them two coming through, you’ve got [Joel] Matip and also Fabinho who can play there as well as anyone else.
“If you’re playing Thiago, you wouldn’t play him alongside Fabinho in defensive midfield.
“For me, you’ve got three or four ready-made centre-backs there to cover for van Dijk and play alongside Joe Gomez.”
Liverpool have already been linked with several stars such as Schalke defender Ozan Kabak and £80m-rated Kalidou Koulibaly.
But the pundit has suggested that the Premier League champions can afford to bring their budget down on a centre-back in January.
“I don’t think Klopp will do top dollar,” Hartson added.
“I’m not sure whether he’ll pay £75m or £80m for one of the best centre-backs in the world.
“He’s already got players there he wants to bring through and he wants to give young players chances to play.
“If they want to be as successful as they have been, he has to keep the ones he’s got but he may go for a centre-half if one becomes available.
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“It won’t be £70m, £80m or £90m for the best because he’ll believe in the players he’s also got.
“We’ve seen Phillips today. He could come on and become and great player, so he doesn’t want to rock the boat and have too many options.”
It comes as Daily Star Sport took a look at Phillips’ performance against the Hammers.
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