Football News

Liverpool boss Klopp urged to sign Ajax defender De Ligt

By J Smith

Published: 17:39, 30 April 2019

Jurgen Klopp should sign Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt to partner Virgil van Dijk, according to Mario Melchiot.

Liverpool have the tightest defence in the Premier League so far this season, conceding just 20 goals in 36 games, and Van Dijk has been crucial to that, helping to keep 19 clean sheets.

Could Van Dijk and De Ligt partner up at Liverpool? Five key things to know…

  1. Van Dijk has been key in Liverpool conceding just 20 goals in 36 Premier League games this season.
  2. De Ligt, meanwhile, has captained Ajax to the Champions League semi-final and top of the Eredivisie.
  3. Mario Melchiot believes Klopp should make the duo a centre-back partnership at Liverpool next season.
  4. De Ligt and Van Dijk already play together for Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands side.
  5. The pair started all four games together as Holland finished ahead of France and Germany in their Nations League group.

De Ligt, meanwhile, has been a stalwart in Holland, captaining the Ajax side that has stormed to the Champions League semi-finals and making the third-highest number of recoveries (60) in the competition along the way, despite being just 19.

Van Dijk and De Ligt have already formed the basis of the resurgent Netherlands side that booked their spot in this summer’s Uefa Nations League finals and Melchiot, a 22-time international with the Oranje during his playing days, believes this partnership could be a huge success at club level too.

“My boys at Ajax are of course going to try and hold onto him for as long as they can,” Melchiot told talkSPORT.

“But they know they’re coming into a difficult situation with De Ligt.

“I like him as a player, he’s very smart.

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“He went through a very difficult spell when he first broke through because he made a couple of mistakes for the national team so the country was jumping on his back.

“But I think that shifted his mindset and made him an even better player.

“Now, the way he’s playing right now, I think if Liverpool were smart they’ll go after him. De Ligt and Van Dijk, those two together would be a great partnership.”

De Ligt: I will be cheaper than De Jong

De Ligt’s teammate, Frenkie de Jong, has been equally impressive for Ajax this season and has already agreed on a £65m move to Barcelona this summer.

However, despite Liverpool spending £75m on Van Dijk in January 2018 – a world-record fee for a defender – De Ligt still doesn’t believe he will command that kind of fee.

“Will I be more expensive than Frenkie? I don’t think so, no,” De Ligt said. “Normally teams spend more money on midfield players than defenders. I really don’t know.

“It’s up to Ajax – it’s not something that I decide. We shall see.

“I haven’t made a decision (on my future) yet, so I don’t know. I am only focused on the last games of the season for now.

“We still have a lot to play for so let’s finish this season in a good way.”