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Liverpool should look at bringing in Evans to fill the gap left by Van Dijk, believes former Reds ace Kennedy

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Jonny Evans’ current contract expires at the end of the season (Nigel French/PA)

Jonny Evans’ current contract expires at the end of the season (Nigel French/PA)

Jonny Evans’ current contract expires at the end of the season (Nigel French/PA)

Jonny Evans would be an ideal January transfer target if Liverpool leak goals in Virgil van Dijk's long-term absence, according to a former Reds star.

The champions could be without their talismanic central defender for the rest of the season after picking up a Grade 3 anterior cruciate ligament injury following a controversial challenge from Everton's Jordan Pickford last Saturday.

The Dutchman has been pivotal to the Reds' success since his arrival in December 2017 and his loss has re-ignited concerns about a defence that lacks experience and leadership.

Defender Alan Kennedy won five League titles and scored in two European Cup-winning Finals for the Merseyside giants in the 1970s and 1980s.

"In my days I wonder what Bob Paisley would have thought if we had lost Alan Hansen or Phil Thompson for a season," said Kennedy. "Just like Virgil, they were inspirational leaders.

"Is the right answer to go and get an equivalent? Is there that type of player around? Liverpool would be interested, but don't buy him for the sake of it.

"Joel Matip is terrific but has suffered from injuries, while Joe Gomez is still a young lad. Sometimes they need to be taken out of the firing line. Players will need to stand in. Fabinho is fantastic and versatile but there will come a time when he's tested and they might decide to look at other options.

"You could play three at the back and push (Trent) Alexander-Arnold and (Andy) Robertson further forward.

"It's important not to press the panic button straight away, and that is what they are doing. It depends on what Jurgen Klopp thinks about those he's got and if they can do a job.

"Liverpool might need someone who can organise the defence, talk to players and give confidence to the goalkeeper."

Evans is one name in the frame if the Reds need to add stability to their rearguard in January.

The 32-year-old has the credentials to be more than just a stop-gap signing, and with just eight months remaining on his deal at Leicester would not command a sizeable fee.

Evans was a Liverpool target when managed by his current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers in 2015.

Kennedy added: "Evans is a very, very good leader of people. If they need to shore the defence up in January, I would be looking for someone like him.

"It is seeing the situation before it happens. It is something that Van Dijk is very good at and also Evans.

"Some people still think that when you reach 32 you are past it as far as signing for a big club is concerned, but that is not the case here. When you are part of a great team it can also make it look so easy."

Kennedy has urged Liverpool not to feel sorry for themselves in Van Dijk's absence while also being patient with the 29-year-old when he does eventually return to the fold.

"Injuries happen, even to the best players," he added. "Everyone will miss Virgil but you just have to get on with it. It gives opportunities to others to step up to the plate. Perhaps a youngster will come to the fore. For someone, it might represent a beginning.

"Above all, everyone needs to be patient with Virgil. I had medial ligament injuries that kept me out for months.

"It is not just the recovery from injury, but it takes time to get back to your best.

"Everyone thinks Virgil is indestructible but he is not. He will be hesitant when he returns."

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