Conor Coady is a ‘Ready-Made’ replacement for Virgil van Dijk, says Mark Lawrenson

Mark Lawrenson believes that Liverpool should target the “ready-made” Conor Coady as a replacement for Virgil van Dijk as the centre-back recovers from injury.

Liverpool suffered a major setback after they lost the 29-year-old Dutchman to injury during their 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.

Jordan Pickford luckily escaped punishment for his shock challenge on Van Dijk, who has been instrumental to Liverpool’s success since his £75m arrival from Southampton.

The Reds confirmed that the Liverpool centre-back sustained a cruciate ligament knee injury and would require surgery as he faces a potentially lengthy absence from the pitch.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp must now rely on Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, along with calling on defensive midfielder Fabinho as a centre-back option.

However, Lawrenson has suggested that Van Dijk could be out for the rest of the season and identified Coady as a viable target that Liverpool could try to sign in January.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The 63-year-old former Liverpool defender told The Argus: “I would think Virgil will be out for the season.

“I think it’s a write-off because you’ve got to get match fit and that’s almost impossible nowadays because they don’t play reserve team football.

“If Liverpool are going to pay big money for somebody in January, they want absolutely ready-made.

“Conor Coady has had loads of shouts and he is a very good organiser who has played lots of games in the Premier League.”

Liverpool have also been heavily linked with Brighton’s Ben White, who spent the previous season out on loan at Leeds.

Lawrenson is unsure how well White would cope at Liverpool, but he does believe that Klopp could bring the best out of the 23-year-old should he arrive at Anfield in January.

“Maybe it might be a bit early for Ben. Would you spend that money thinking he might be ready in 18 months? I’m not sure,” he said.

“But the great thing for the lad is he is going to have a fabulous future. It wouldn’t surprise me if, 18 months or two years down the line, he goes somewhere big, in inverted commas.

“Whether it is Liverpool remains to be seen, but one thing with Klopp is he doesn’t give a damn how old you are.”