Erling Haaland message may give Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp food for thought

Haaland cooks up a storm at MNKY HSE

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland may have given Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp food for thought in the transfer market this summer after admitting Reds defender Virgil van Dijk has been his “most difficult” opponent this season. Haaland joined the Citizens last summer and has enjoyed an incredible debut campaign in the Premier League.

City shelled out a bargain £51.3million to prise Haaland away from Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2022/23 season. And the 22-year-old has bagged 52 goals in 52 games for the north west giants.

Haaland broke the Premier League goalscoring record for a single season after finding the back of the net 36 times in the top-flight. But he couldn’t get his name on the scoresheet during his one Premier League appearance against Liverpool back in October.

Van Dijk kept the Norway international quiet on that occasion at Anfield, like he had done during the Community Shield in July. And Haaland has been full of praise for the Netherlands ace ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final between City and Inter Milan.

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After being asked by Rio Ferdinand on BT Sport who his toughest opponent of the season was, Haaland replied: “The most difficult – we struggled at Anfield I remember. Van Dijk, I always said it, I think he’s so good. But the good thing also about it is I’m meeting Ruben Dias, [Manuel] Akanji, [Nathan] Ake in training every single day. Training is not easy. But Van Dijk – I like him a lot. He’s smart, fast and in the air he’s just unreal as well.”

Van Dijk has been widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the world since signing for Liverpool from Southampton at the start of 2018. But he struggled during the 2022/23 campaign as the Reds suffered a downturn in fortunes and had a season to forget.

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Klopp has been tipped to delve into the transfer market this summer to bolster his defence after watching his side concede 47 Premier League goals. But if Haaland’s analysis of Van Dijk is anything to go by, Klopp may well decide he doesn’t need to find a new main man to pull the strings at the heart of his defence.

Liverpool have reportedly put money aside to sign a world-class centre-back this summer and have been linked with RB Leipzig ace Josko Gvardiol. But Klopp could reassess his plans off the back of Haaland’s comments and decide to bring in cheaper reinforcements to act as a back-up to Van Dijk and regular partner Ibrahima Konate. And that would allow the German to bolster his squad elsewhere as he attempts to reignite his side over the coming months.

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