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‘Van Dijk would find it hard to turn down Barcelona or Real Madrid’

Citing the sale of Philippe Coutinho to the Catalans, Paul Ince believes that keeping the Reds squad together will be a challenge

Liverpool will be concerned about the prospect of losing key defender Virgil van Dijk, according to Paul Ince, who offered a warning to Jurgen Klopp over the spending power of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Reds may be European champions, but financially they will not be able to compete with Spanish giants and must ensure that they continue winning trophies in order to keep their star players happy, says the former Liverpool midfielder.

The Premier League title seems set to be on its way to Merseyside this season, with Klopp’s men needing only 15 more points to secure it, but in order to prove themselves as one of the all-time greats, this squad need to maintain a flow of success.

“I think what they’re doing is great – the players and Klopp – but great teams win trophies year in year out,” Ince, who played for Liverpool between 1997 and 1999, told the Liverpool Echo.

“They’ve got a big chance to do that but we’ll need to look back in a few years to see what they’ve done to say that was a great Liverpool team.

“Obviously it’s now a question of how they get better in the future, it’s tough because they’ve got some young exciting players who are only going to improve but in football things change – we saw that with Philippe Coutinho, suddenly someone like Barcelona comes in and they’re off.

“It’s a case of keeping the best players at Liverpool.

“Will someone come in for Van Dijk? When Barcelona or Real Madrid come knocking it’s hard to say no.

“That’s the thing about being a victim of your own success, when you’re doing so many great things like Liverpool are doing it alerts other big club like Barcelona or Madrid.”

Ince drew comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United as a Ballon d’Or winner to move to Spain.

“It’s hard to say no as a player when they come in,” he said. “You look at someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, you get to the stage where you’ve won the league and Champions League – are you prepared to do it year in, year out or do you want another challenge elsewhere?

“That’s what Klopp is going to have to deal with and he’ll have to look at that in the future and build his team around that.”

Liverpool face West Ham on Monday as the seek to close in on more silverware.

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