Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton believes the club is signing the missing link in their team in the form of Southampton centre-back Dejan Lovren.

The Croatian defender will reportedly complete his move to Anfield this week but Saints manager Ronald Koeman has warned the Reds require a big fee to sign the star turn.

Brendan Rodgers saw his Liverpool team eventually wilt under the pressure of the Premier League title race last term, conceding a critical goals during the final games of the season which included against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

And therefore Houghton insists Lovren, should he complete his move to Merseyside, is the ideal signing to calm those defensive fears which undermined their title challenge.

Houghton told Sky Sports News Radio: "I think Liverpool will be very competitive. I'd still like them to bringing a few more defenders. I know Lovren is one of those from Southampton and I think he'd be a great addition.

"I looked at him a lot last season. I think he's a very good defender and Liverpool need defensive options. They didn't win the title last season not because they didn't score enough goals but because they didn't defend well enough in the last four games of the season.

"The great Liverpool sides of old used to win games 1-0. Not 3-2 after losing 2-1. They would put up a defensive shield and protect what they had and that is something Liverpool will learn year after year.

He added: "Liverpool had some really good performances without Luis [Suarez] in the team with Daniel Sturridge in that position and he scored quite a few goals.

"It look like they're bringing in the likes of Loic Remy and one or two others so they've got a few options.

"There is Rickie Lambert there you've got Adam Lallana. You're building and you're actually bringing in quality players as well and maybe bringing in a bit more depth than we had last season."