Liverpool switch focus to £20m PL defender after failed Van Dijk swoop

Liverpool are reportedly back in the race for Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson after being forced to give up on Virgil van Dijk.

Jurgen Klopp is undoubtedly prioritising a central defender this summer, as he needs to shore things up at the back at Anfield next season if they are to be real Premier League and Champions League contenders.

It appeared as though Van Dijk would be the man to fill that void, although after Southampton complained of an illegal approach from the Reds for the Dutch international, Liverpool were forced to publicly apologise and withdraw their interest.

According to The Sun, they will now switch their focus to Gibson, who is also attracting interest from Tottenham, West Brom and Leicester City, while Boro are said to be looking for £20m in order to allow him to leave the Riverside Stadium.

In addition, it’s added that Burnley defender Michael Keane is also on Klopp’s radar, and so it remains to be seen who the German tactician opts to pursue this summer with one of the two needed, if not another defender if Liverpool fail in their attempts to sign both.

Gibson will arguably be the easier to obtain after Middlesbrough’s relegation this past season, but as the nephew of owner Steve Gibson, he will be seen as a key component in helping the club gain immediate promotion.

Liverpool conceded 42 goals in 38 Premier League games last season, with only Arsenal letting in more out of the top six sides. In turn, if they wish to bridge that gap to Chelsea and Tottenham and other rivals, then they’ll have to become more solid at the back and either Gibson or Keane would address that.