The collapse of Liverpool’s deal to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield was always going to unleash a whole host of centre-back alternatives, with Ben Gibson becoming the latest name linked.
The Middlesbrough captain suffered relegation with the Teesiders this season but was one of the club’s stand-out performers nevertheless.
After reports in the Mail suggested the 24-year-old was on the Reds’ radar, the Mirror now have moved the claims a step further – namechecking Jurgen Klopp’s side and suggesting Garry Monk will block any potential move for the defender.
The new Boro boss will hold talks with the England defender to insist he wants all his best players to be part of a promotion push in next season’s Championship.
Monk said: “Ben is one of a number of players here who are integral to the squad, integral to making that step back.
“Ben is obviously a big focal point the team. I’ve watched him over the last couple of seasons, and I’m well aware of him and what he can bring to the team.
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“It’s important that you keep your best players, and important you’re able to keep a core together and give yourself the best possible opportunity of reaching the club’s ambition, which is to go back to the Premier League.
“Ben is a big part of that. Discussions will happen with players. It’s my job to sit with them, and show them the way forward.
“It’s important that we keep our best players, and the club are in agreement with that.”
Whoever wants Gibson this summer will have a fight on their hands, it seems.