Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has tipped highly-rated youngster Joe Gomez to be the Reds' 'long-term' defensive partner of newest signing Virgil van Dijk at Anfield.
The Reds secured the long awaited signature of van Dijk after parting with a club record £75m to Southampton at the start of the January transfer window, ending a six-month transfer battle after the Saints refused to part with the Dutch defender in the summer following Liverpool's alleged illegal approach.
After parting with the largest ever fee for a defender, van Dijk is set to slot straight into the fold following his settling in period as Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have all rotated through the central position with varying degrees of success.
With defence largely attributed to Liverpool's inability to compete for silverware, van Dijk's arrival has seemingly started a debate as to who is best suited to lineup alongside the 26-year-old.
Lawrenson believes that man should be 20-year-old Gomez, who has impressed in his appearances at full-back this season, despite being guilty of momentary lapses of concentration, as the England international has been tipped to become a top class central defender.
Lawrenson told Irish radio station Newstalk, via the Sport Review: "When you sign a player like this, Lovren, Klavan, Matip and Gomez – who will eventually be Van Dijk’s long term partner – they are thinking one of them is going to get in with this fella.
“One of them is going to kick on."
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Gomez has featured 21 times for Liverpool this season after successfully recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury which limited his game time to just seven games in his first two seasons at the club.
Van Dijk on the other hand is eligible to take to the field in Liverpool's third round FA Cup clash with Everton on Friday, potentially offering an early sight of the Reds' new defender merely days following arrival.