Souness backs new Liverpool man to become Van Dijk’s partner
Graeme Souness thinks Ozan Kabak could be Virgil van Dijk’s long-term partner at Liverpool if he impresses this season.
The defensive crisis on Merseyside led to Kabak being signed on-loan from Schalke on deadline day and the Turkish centre-back made his debut at Leicester as Liverpool crashed to a third successive Premier League defeat.
A 3-1 loss at the King Power Stadium was all the more galling for Kabak after a collision with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, but the new arrival looked more assured as Liverpool returned to winning ways in Europe on Tuesday night.
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It was RB Leipzig’s defenders who looked more susceptible in the first leg of the last-16 tie in Budapest as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane capitalised on a couple of mistakes to secure a 2-0 victory.
And Souness thinks Kabak “might be the one” to partner Van Dijk in the long term once the Dutch international comes back from injury.
Souness told Sky Sports: “He’s a good player. He’s finding his feet in our football. On first impressions, I think he’ll be fine. We’re quick to judge people in our football; he’s a young man, and finding out about the players he’s training with every day.
“It’s a totally different environment. But he will be welcomed at that football club, in the city, and I think he looks like someone who can be an asset going forward for Liverpool.
“I’m not sure if Klopp is totally set on a partner for Van Dijk going forward, and he might be the one.
“I always believe your back four and goalkeeper is a unit within your XI. That understanding develops with playing week in, week out with each other. I see that as a vital part of the team, to have that understanding.
“The two full-backs and goalkeeper know all about Van Dijk, [Joe] Gomez and [Joel] Matip, and that’s paramount.”