Man Utd star has handed Liverpool perfect opportunity to land Virgil van Dijk replacement

Manchester United could aid Liverpool’s search for a centre-back in an unlikely fashion. The Reds are now weighing up the possibility of bringing in defensive reinforcements, following the news that Virgil van Dijk requires knee surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament.

Liverpool have coped well so far in the absence of the Dutchman, who has missed three games since hobbling off in the Merseyside derby.

The Premier League champions have put six points on the board in the Champions League, recording clean sheets in wins over Ajax and FC Midtjylland.

Sheffield United gave Jurgen Klopp’s side a scare on Saturday night at Anfield but goals from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota ensured Liverpool got the job done.

Makeshift centre-back Fabinho is now set to face a spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring problem last night.

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The blow pushes Liverpool even closer towards signing a centre-back in January, now they are down to just two senior options in Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

One of the names on their radar is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, who is a player Klopp has been monitoring closely.

He will be available for £36million next summer due to a release clause in his new Leipzig contract.

Manchester United are set to make a move after failing to land a new centre-back in the transfer window.

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However, the emergence of Axel Tuanzebe means the position is no longer a top priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

That bodes well for Liverpool, who will now have the chance to sneak in at the turn of the year as they attempt to twist Leipzig’s arm.

Tuanzebe has caught the eye upon return from injury and was exceptional in the 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain as he kept Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at bay.

He will provide stern competition for Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as United wait for Upamecano’s release clause to become active.

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Jamie Carragher has urged his former side Liverpool to wrap up a deal for the France international on January 1. He told Sky Sports: “There is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano, there is talk of him. Whether he has the profile of Van Dijk, I think he is only 6’1″ or 6’2”, so he is maybe not that aerial, but if he is the one they wanted, then bring it forward.

“Pay extra money and do it on January 1st. That means getting through 11 league games without Virgil van Dijk.

“One thing to say about Virgil van Dijk is that in the last 23 games, they have only kept five clean sheets, and Van Dijk played all of them, so it is not like everything was perfect. We saw the seven against Aston Villa and we saw the Leeds game.

“But I think they have to go big with a signing.”

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