Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes the Reds should go into next season with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Nat Phillips as their four centre-backs.
Jurgen Klopp 's side have experienced an injury crisis at the back this season, with Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip all suffering season ending injuries.
As a result, Liverpool brought in Ben Davies from Preston and signed Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke in January.
They do have an option to make Kabak's loan move permanent for £18m but Enrique believes that academy graduate Phillips is better suited to Liverpool's style of play.
Writing in his column for Empire of the Kop, Enrique explained: "If both Phillips and Kabak were free this summer, I’d still go for Phillips. But with Phillips already ours and Kabak costing £18m, I definitely choose Nat.
"Next season, my four defenders would be Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Phillips. If Matip is sold, I’d bring in a new centre-back, but Phillips won’t cost us anything and has proven himself.
"Phillips is strong and amazing in the air. Kabak would be better for a possession team, a Barcelona, but in the Premier League, with all the long-balls, I prefer Phillips for our style.
"I think next to van Dijk, Gomez or Matip, he could do the job. He’s still quite young and is getting better and better. He deserves an opportunity next season – that means money can be spent elsewhere.
"Obviously if we had £300m we could just bring in Kalidou Koulibaly or whoever, but Liverpool will have to be smart this summer. Klopp likes tall centre-backs who are quick. Phillips isn’t quick, but he’s big and a brilliant header.
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"I don’t think Klopp watched much of Ben Davies before he arrived. I can tell you from being a player that managers only have time to focus on players in their own league.
"Klopp won’t be watching Championship games, so he would have relied on his scouts. The fact he hasn’t played means I can’t judge him, but there is obviously a reason why he – and Kostas Tsimikas – are not playing."
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