Liverpool legend calls on Reds to sign Everton's 'best player'

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has suggested his former club could make a move to sign Everton centre back Jarrad Branthwaite.

21-year-old Branthwaite joined the Toffees from Carlisle in 2020 and is becoming a regular in Sean Dyche's defence this season, after a breakout campaign on loan at PSV in 2022/23.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are known to be on lookout for new defenders, having revamped the midfield over the summer.

Anfield Watch understands that strengthening at the back will be a priority for the Reds in 2024, with a young, left-sided centre back on the agenda.

The likes of Piero Hincapie, Goncalo Inacio and Levi Colwill were linked over the summer, though the latter has since signed a new long-term contract at Chelsea.

Speaking prior to Liverpool's Merseyside derby, Klopp name-checked the Cumbria-born Branthwaite as a 'really good left-footed centre-half' – arousing suspicion that the youngster might also be on the Reds' radar.

Only 36 players in history have turned out for both Liverpool and Everton, with Conor Coady the most recent to turn out for the two Merseyside rivals.

Writing in his Liverpool Echo column, Aldridge, who scored 63 times in 104 appearances for the Reds during the 1980s, backed Branthwaite for a very bright future.

"I don’t want to upset any Evertonians by saying this, and whether Liverpool would buy from Everton is another matter as it rarely happens, but I certainly think he has got the ability to go on and become a leading figure and a starter for England," the 65-year-old wrote.

"The fact Jurgen Klopp even talked him up before the game in his pre-match press conference was interesting. He is likely to be on the radar of other teams as well, Manchester United have already been mentioned as a possible destination, but it’s up to Everton over what they do with him. Branthwaite recently signed a new contract with Everton, too. I’m looking at Everton's team and, if you want to go forward as a club, those are the type of players you have to keep around. Whether or not Everton can do that, only time will tell.

"A left-sided centre-back is something we were in the market for during the summer transfer window, which we didn't end up signing in the end. If we were to make a move for Branthwaite, he would probably cost a significant amount due to the English premium that we so often see in the game. Coming to Liverpool would be hard for the lad, it takes a bit of doing to make that switch across Stanley Park. I don’t want to upset anyone, I will stress that again, but I think he has a really bright future."

Branthwaite has made seven starts for Everton so far this season and was part of the England Under-21 side that won the European Championship this summer.

Earlier this month he signed a long-term contract with the Toffees, which runs until 2027.

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