Joe Gomez is good enough to remain at Liverpool for the “next 15 years”, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
Gomez has been in impressive form for Liverpool since the start of the season and the 20-year-old produced a man-of-the-match performance against Brazil on his full debut for England on Monday.
The former Charlton youngster excelled as part of a back three alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire at Wembley – prompting calls for Gomez to start at centre-back when Southampton visit Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Klopp has suggested he will start Gomez at right-back against the Saints, with Nathaniel Clyne currently sidelined, but the German insists the England international is good enough for both roles.
When asked if Gomez is ready to play regularly as a centre-back, Klopp said: “There is no doubt about that. Joe knows about his little issues but he is still a young lad.
“He has to improve in a lot of parts but of course he is ready. He is a fantastic player.
“He was injured in a time in his life when people are still growing and that is a medical thing. We want to have him for the next 15 years, hopefully.
“Was he a professional player at Charlton? Okay, so he is not a one-team player but we want to have him here for a long, long time.
“I want to use him. He is ready but he can play at full-back as well. That is very good for us.”