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Virgil van Dijk.

Five centre-backs Liverpool should target after Virgil van Dijk deal falls through

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Liverpool suffered humiliation on Wednesday when they were forced to end their interest in Virgil van Dijk and issue an official apology to Southampton.

According to the Saints, Liverpool had made an illegal approach for the Dutch centre-back and even threatened to report them to the Premier League.

This prompted an immediate - and rather embarrassing - response from Liverpool, who released the following statement.

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"Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs," it read.

"We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk.

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"We respect Southampton's position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player."

Jurgen Klopp must now look elsewhere for a new centre-back - one that can help his side challenge for both the Premier League and in the Champions League.

So who could the German target? Let's take a look at five potential alternative to Van Dijk:

KALIDOU KOULIBALY

Kalidou Koulibaly has previously been linked with Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton and possesses all the physical attributes to thrive in the Premier League.

Fast, tall - he's 6' 5"! - and composed on the ball, the Napoli centre-back would cost Liverpool around £50 million.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-SAMPDORIA-NAPOLI

STEFAN DE VRIJ

Liverpool have reportedly already seen an £18 million bid for Stefan de Vrij rejected - but it's no wonder they're targeting him.

In typical Dutch fashion, the 25-year-old is a calming presence at the back and could be interested in moving to Anfield after Lazio missed out on the Champions League.

SS Lazio v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

KOSTAS MANOLAS

Another name frequently linked with the Premier League, Kostas Manolas is close to signing a new deal with Roma, so Liverpool would have to move fast.

But given the Greek defender's physical attributes and age (25), Klopp would be wise to at least enquire into his availability.

SS Lazio v AS Roma - TIM Cup

JEROME BOATENG

Signing Jerome Boateng is a long shot, but Liverpool are back in the Champions League and one of Europe's biggest clubs - they SHOULD be signing players of this calibre.

Chelsea are also said to be interested in the 28-year-old, who is world-class and recently admitted to being unhappy at Bayern Munich after making 10 league starts last season. Why not?

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-MUNICH-AUGSBURG

INIGO MARTINEZ

Perhaps Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez is a more realistic target for Liverpool, though they would face competition from Barcelona.

The 26-year-old Spaniard is stereotypically good in possession and, despite being 5' 11", good in the air and strong. He would cost somewhere in the region of £20-25 million.

Real Sociedad de Futbol v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

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Nathaniel Clyne
Football

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