Steven Gerrard has advised Jurgen Klopp to move for Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk to cure Liverpool's defensive problems, which have all-but ended their hopes of winning the Premier League title. The 3-2 defeat to Swansea City, which was riddled with countless mishaps at the back, leaves the Reds 10 points beyond leaders Chelsea with 16 games remaining.

Only Manchester City have conceded more goals in the top seven and a failure to win in 2017 could even threaten the Merseysiders' chances of qualifying of the Champions League. Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip have all featured at the heart of the Reds' back-linethis term, but none have the chops required of a top=four side.

As a result, former captain Gerrard, who has returned to Liverpool as an academy coach, has urged the club to add a centre-back to their squad during the January transfer window. The ex-England international believes Netherlands defender Van Dijk could ably fill the void, but warns that another acquisition from Southampton may lead to some negative voices.

"Who I think we need, I would go and try and bid for Van Dijk from Southampton," he told BT Sport on Sunday (22 January), according to the Liverpool Echo. "But we've had enough of their players so that will probably go down like a lead balloon."

Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk has impressed at the heart of the Southampton defence this season. Getty Images

The 36-year-old added earlier over the weekend: "Klopp is probably thinking I don't want to waste my money in January if the right people are not there. If Liverpool fans are losing trust in Jurgen Klopp right now it's incredible. We're lucky to have him; he's a world-class manager and he's going to bring success to this football club."

Van Dijk appears destined to leave St Mary's during the summer having been heavily linked with a move away from the club. The Daily Mail understands Manchester City are interested in a £50m move for the 25-year-old, who is reportedly interested in upgrading his position on the south coast for the opportunity to play Champions League football.

Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby has already urged the club to make a move for Van Dijk, insisting that Klopp should make a deal happen in the summer. "Liverpool should very much show an interest. For all that's we're happy with what we've got, he's an improvement and he'd be an improvement for all top-six clubs," Molby wrote in his Liverpool Echo Column. "I can't imagine any club in the world who would not want Southampton's Virgil van Dijk. I think he's a super player.

"He has it all. He's a good reader of the game, he can defend when he has to, he's good in the air, he's a real asset in both penalty areas but I also like his passing ability, not just the fact he's comfortable with the ball but the things that he sees and he's capable of executing those passes."