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Monday, January 25, 2021

‘Liverpool wrap up title with Koulibaly deal’ – Reds unstoppable with Napoli star alongside Van Dijk, says Hutchison

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Jurgen Klopp is said to be mulling over a move for the Senegalese centre-half, with a former Anfield star excited by the transfer speculation

Liverpool would “wrap the title up right there” if a big-money deal was done to bring in Kalidou Koulibaly alongside Virgil van Dijk, says former Reds star Don Hutchison.

Jurgen Klopp is said to be mulling over a move for the Napoli defender.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a switch to the Premier League, with Manchester United reported to have been monitoring his situation for some time.

It could be that 2020 is the year in which the Senegal international takes on a new challenge outside of Italy, with there no shortage of suitors willing to snap up the commanding 28-year-old.

Liverpool would need to invest heavily again in order to win that race, having previously splashed out £75 million ($93m) on Van Dijk, but Hutchison believes that would be money well spent as the Reds would become virtually unstoppable.

He told ESPN FC of the transfer talk: “I think if Koulibaly comes through the door at Liverpool and he plays alongside Virgil van Dijk, I think you wrap the title up right there.

“I don’t think there’s anyone better, there won’t be another partnership like it.

“The best defenders out there in Europe apart from the Premier League at the moment is Milan Skriniar at Inter [Milan], my gut feeling is he’s going to join Pep [Guardiola] at Man City, and alongside him is Koulibaly.

“I think at 28 he’s a great age, he’s got good pace, he’s strong, he’s a leader. I think he walks straight into Liverpool’s line up and he makes them harder to beat, he makes them a physical presence.

“You wouldn’t want to play against Van Dijk or Koulibaly – how on earth as a striker do you even think about getting any joy out of those two?

“I think if you’re going to win titles and you want to try and adapt, Liverpool have to be harder to beat.

“You have to go into Europe and you have to have people like Koulibaly who can lead you in Europe.

“You can try and go that way when games are tight if you want a clean sheet, Koulibaly and Van Dijk, [Andy] Robertson and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] would be nigh-on impossible to break down, Alisson behind them.

“And it would just put fear, I would imagine, into every manager and every player that lines up against Liverpool trying to come up with a game plan of how you’re actually going to score goals, what is Liverpool’s weakness going to be?

“And with Koulibaly and Van Dijk and Alisson as that sort of triangle, that three, they would take some beating.”

Van Dijk proved to be one of the final pieces in the puzzle for Liverpool as they claimed Champions League glory in 2019, with Klopp’s men having gone on to establish a 25-point lead at the top of the Premier League table before football shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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