Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has stressed that defender Ragnar Klavan remains an integral part of his side, despite the imminent arrival of Virgil van Dijk.
The Estonia international joined the Reds in 2016 after sealing a £4.2m move from Augsburg, but he has featured more predominantly as a third choice centre-back since his arrival at the club.
However, with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip succumbing to a number of injuries this season Klavan has stepped up in their absence and shown he is capable of being a more than effective option for Klopp.
The 32-year-old has started in all of Liverpool's last six games, helping keep four clean sheets in the process. But despite van Dijk's arrival looming, Klopp has insisted Klavan remains a vital member of the team.
He told the club's website: “In this world, especially in England, with big signings and stuff like this, then you see how much we paid for Raggy…
If Ragnar Klavan was Spanish, Italian, German or British – he’d get plenty of plaudits and hailed as some of our finest business, but he’s Estonian, and that’s not fashionable.— Ben Webb (@BenWebbLFC) December 27, 2017
Keep at it Ragnar, you’ve been boss.
“And how many German clubs have asked me already, ‘Do you think about him [being available for transfer]?’, which we don’t, of course.
“He is a perfect role model for pretty much all signings. He loves being here. This season, when Joel and Dejan did quite well, he didn’t have 20 games in a row but has stepped up since then.
“He needs to be confident. He could be much more confident with his skills. That’s his only little problem, if you want – that he doesn’t know how good he actually is. But we are working on that as well.
“He is in good shape at the moment. It’s very, very important for us that he is. We had Joel and Dejan with one or two little [injuries] so it was very important that he could step in.”