Albion great Mark Lawrenson believes Ben White could eventually follow in his footsteps from Sussex to Anfield.

But he does not see it happening in the coming transfer window.

The current Premier League champions are known to have watched White regularly last season and they will be interested to see what he does in the Premier League.

A comparison with Lawrenson is easy to make on several levels.

A composed, stylish ball-playing centre-back who can also play in midfield or at right-back.

Who progressed outside the elite up north – hometown club Preston, in Lawro’s case – and then shone for Albion in the top flight as Liverpool scouts watched.

But it also a premature comparison in terms of building up a track record on the pitch.

These are also very different times.

Lawrenson played 152 league games for Albion before joining Liverpool. White is being linked with the Reds after five.

Which is why, if he does go, Lawrenson reckons it might suit both clubs and the player himself to be patient.

“I’ve been very impressed,” the BBC pundit, who keeps a close eye on Liverpool and sees a lot of Leeds, told The Argus.

“He has got great build. He certainly looks quick enough.

“He is good on the ball, obviously, and he looks like he has got all the tools and you’d have thought he will only improve.

“He improved during his year at Leeds and he will certainly understand about fitness, playing for Marcelo Bielsa.

“It is not surprising he has been mentioned with the likes of Liverpool looking at him.

“I’m sure they are looking at him and why wouldn’t you?

“But it’s a little bit early. You want to see him make mistakes, which sounds ridiculous.

“You only want to see that because then you see how he recovers.

“If he slips and gives the ball away, whatever, and causes a goal - and I know Brighton play in a particular way, which is good - as a scout, that is when you’d really want to judge him.

“He keeps improving. He was excellent at Leeds and they bid £25 million.

“Say the likes of Liverpool are looking at him, it would be a long-term thing and I think you’d want to watch him week in and week out and see him against the very top players.

“You’re talking Champions League and therein lies the difference.

“There is no doubt he is going to be more than comfortable in the Premier League.

“But it’s like all the other names which have been bandied about. Will any of those players be good enough for the Champions League?”

Liverpool’s interest in White has been catapulted back into some headlines by Virgil Van Dijk’s serious knee injury.

Lawrenson said: “I would think Virgil will be out for the season.

“I think it’s a write-off because you’ve got to get match fit and that’s almost impossible nowadays because they don’t play reserve team football.

“If Liverpool are going to pay big money for somebody in January, they want absolutely ready-made.

“Conor Coady has had loads of shouts and he is a very good organiser who has played lots of games in the Premier League. 

“Maybe it might be a bit early for Ben. Would you spend that money thinking he might be ready in 18 months? I’m not sure.

“But the great thing for the lad is he is going to have a fabulous future.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if, 18 months or two years down the line, he goes somewhere big, in inverted commas.

“Whether it is Liverpool remains to be seen.

“But one thing with Klopp is he doesn’t give a damn how old you are.”

There is another possibility, of course. That Albion keep him as part of a push towards their stated longer-term goal of the top ten.

They could, after all, have sold him this summer had they so wished.

Lawrenson said: “It would have been easy to take the 25 million from Leeds and put in a sell-on clause.

“But I think the manager looks at him and thinks, the way prices are going, if this lad plays 30 or 40 games in the Premier League, we will be getting 50 million.

“You can see with the club and the way they are playing this year, they have moved up a level.

“They shouldn’t be involved in that bottom six or eight because I think they are better than that, which is great.

“They are building. The season when Chrissy (Hughton) lost his job, you thought they kind of stood still a little bit.

“I don’t think they quite got their recruitment right.

“Looking at players they are bringing in now, they are of a different quality and they should probably be, I think, halfway up the league, which would be great for them, and then push on.

“Brighton will make massive money if and when they sell him - if in fact they need to sell him.”

Lawrenson admires White’s versatility but believes he could eventually settle on a favoured role.

He said: “Everybody’s different but, when I went to Liverpool, they said to me straight away, ‘We know where we want to play you’.

“I could play in midfield or right-back and that worked for me because I thought I had three or four chances every week to be in the team.

“It’s good for a while but you’ve always got your favourite position.

“It’s a bit like a pair of comfy slippers. It feels good.”

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Older fans will recall Lawrenson’s classy performances in blue and white attracting interest before Liverpool paid £900,000 for him in 1981.

There was no transfer talk driven by social media or, in Lawro’s case, agents, back then, but word still got out.

He said: “There was a lot of talk in my last year at Brighton that I’d be joining X, Y and Z.

“I didn’t have an agent but I was never tapped up.

“The ten-year contract that I signed at Brighton was a way of giving me security but also the club looking after themselves, so they could ask for something daft.

“The day before I went to Liverpool, I had the chance to go to Arsenal and Man U.

“I had three teams in for me in just over 48 hours.

“I wasn’t constantly in the newspaper saying I was going here or going there.

“You didn’t have things like Sky Sports rumours which all like and watch now.

“I had always said to the club the only way I would leave would be to go somewhere I could win things because I loved it at Brighton. That’s what happened.”