Former Celtic scout Neil McGuinness, who was responsible to bringing Virgil van Dijk to Celtic Park from Dutch Eredivisie outfit FC Groningen in 2013, believes Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will drop Dejan Lovren to accommodate the Dutchman upon his arrival at Anfield on January 1st.
Van Dijk will become the world's most expensive defender once the imminent transfer window opens. Southampton accepted a £75m bid from the Reds and McGuinness insists that the 26-year-old will help shore-up the Merseysiders' defensive ranks with Joel Matip at his side in the heart of the back four.
Klopp, given his current options at the back, has preferred to partner Lovren and Matip at centre-half this term, but now that Van Dijk is to be available for selection, the technically inferior Croatian defender will presumably make way in the starting 11.
Speaking to BBC Sport (via Daily Star), McGuinness said: “He adds a new dimension to the team and has a style that manager Jurgen Klopp will be keen to exploit.
“Liverpool have a few central defenders - possibly too many now - with Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.
“I think the potential casualty from last season's starting partnership might be Lovren.
“I can see Klopp favouring the partnership of Matip, who he knows and likes well from his time in Germany, and Van Dijk.
“He will then have two big powerful centre-backs who both have more technical capability on the ball than Lovren does.
“What he can bring to the Liverpool back line that it currently lacks is the ability to play out from the back."
Lovren has exploited his frailties on the ball in the past, and though he's physically staunch, Van Dijk harbours the superior capacity to both hold the line and move out of his defensive quarters effortlessly with the ball under his assured spell.
“He can drive forward with the ball at the same time as being able to spot a 50-60-yard pass and deliver it with accuracy." McGuinness proceeded to add.
“This is a huge, key element to his play and it will add a totally different dimension to the team, with Virgil able to exploit the movement of the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
“The other thing he brings to the centre-back pairing is recovery pace, which will allow for a higher line if chosen against certain opponents.
“His addition to the defence changes the dynamics of how the team will play."