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Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has called on manager Jurgen Klopp to blood the youngsters with a deal for Southampton wantaway Virgil van Dijk unlikely - and sees no point in bringing in a defender just for the sake of it.
Van Dijk, 26, has made of his desire to swap Hampshire for Merseyside very clear in recent months and tried to push through a move to Anfield by submitting a transfer request a few weeks ago, but Mauricio Pellegrino's side batted away the Dutchman's attempts to edge closer to the exit door and are intent holding on to their prized defender with just hours of the transfer window remaining.
Kirkland, who only made 45 appearances during his five-year stint with Liverpool, does not think a deal for the £70m-rated Van Dijk can be resurrected at this late stage but is confident the Reds' current defensive personnel have it within them to shore up a rather leaky backline at Anfield.
Liverpool do not seem to have lined up any alternatives to Van Dijk, and Kirkland believes Klopp should promote a youth prospect to the first-team rather than plunge the depths of the transfer market and sign a player for the sake of having an extra body at his disposal.
"They tried to sign Van Dijk, that one obviously has been going on for a long time and looks like it's not going to happen," Kirkland said on Sky Sports, relayed by The Express. "I'm sure they will be disappointed with that.
"We've got some fantastic centre-halves here, it's up to them to tighten the ship at the back and to keep more clean sheets if possible.
"If we can keep more clean sheets, then with the players we've got we will always score goals in any game. It all depends who's available, at what price, and if that player fits into the style Jurgen Klopp wants to play.
"If there's not, then there's no point and going and signing someone just for the sake of it.
"Get one of the youngsters involved, we've seen Jurgen likes to get the youngsters involved from the academy. I'd prefer to go down that route."
Liverpool have already confirmed the £40m signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal but are unlikely to conduct any more business before Thursday's 11pm deadline. Southampton have not received a bid for Van Dijk, whose situation remains the same as it ever was.
Klopp's men were recently exploring the possibility of signing Monaco playmaker Thomas Lemar but their attempts to lure the 21-year-old France international away from the principality have proved unsuccessful. The failure to land Lemar is counter-balanced by Philippe Coutinho, who is set to remain a Liverpool player despite being the subject of a publicised, aggressive pursuit from Barcelona.