Just when everything seemed to be going well for Liverpool after beating league leaders Manchester City at the red side of Merseyside, Jurgen Klopp’s men faltered away from home against Swansea and a narrow 2-3 defeat to West Bromwich Albion handed them the FA Cup exit in the fourth round. Moreover, a last-gasp equalizer from Tottenham Hotspurs in the last matchday has further put an enormous pressure on the German who was in search of a silverware this season. However, the 50-year-old’s fate depends on the availability of Champions League football next season.
The last midweek game saw the Reds beat Huddersfield Town 3-0, but that does not put an end to their major problem which is the lack of consistency.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager welcomed Liverpool’s club record signing Virgil Van Dijk last month and the arrival of Naby Keita in the summer should see them as serious title challengers for the forthcoming season. On the other hand, Liverpool lost their creativity fulcrum in Philippe Coutinho who joined the Spanish giants Barcelona in the winter transfer market.
It is likely that Liverpool will finish within the top 4 this season. However, with another three to four signings, the Kop faithful can aspire to prove to be a threat to the Manchester and London teams. Let’s look at some of the positions Liverpool will need to strengthen in the upcoming transfer window.
Under the crossbars
Liverpool has failed to replace the Spaniard Pepe Reina since his move to Napoli back in 2013. Brendan Rodgers had two options to go for either Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet or Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic. But, the former Liverpool managers’ decision to push for the Belgian backfired.
The former Black Cats’ shot-stopper Liverpool’s career began to a flyer when he saved a penalty during his debut game against Stoke City, but, since then he has made 15 errors which have directly lead to a goal. This unfortunate stat is the highest ever for a goalkeeper in the Premier League in the last 4 years.
Klopp’s idea to bring in the young Loris Karius has not paid off until now. The Reds are linked with Roma’s Alisson and they will need to shell out around 60 million to get him who is also attracting interest from France heavyweights Paris Saint Germain.
Can the arrival of Van Dijk solve the defensive woes?
The arrival of Van Dijk from Southampton is a statement of intent from Jurgen Klopp who wants to reshuffle his error-prone defence. The Liverpool managers’ decision to trust Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren did not prove to be worthy. Both these centre backs always have errors in them and have cost Liverpool more often than not.
In hindsight, it is safer to say that Liverpool’s defence will improve should they go in search of a centre back in the summer. Stefan De Vrij, who will be without a contract after this may is the most heard name among the Anfield faithful. Dutch pairing at the back could be on the cards for Jurgen Klopp.
In the middle of the park
Liverpool’s last reliable defensive midfielder was Javier Mascherano who left for Barcelona in 2010. Kenny Dalglish’s idea to play Lucas Leiva in that position failed, Brendan Rodgers idea to play Gerrard paid off for short-term and Klopp’s idea to play Jordan Henderson has failed.
The arrival of another midfielder who sits back with the defence means it will free up Naby Keita’s defensive responsibilities. The Leipzig starlet is a box-to-box midfielder who is known for his explosive runs and long-range piledrivers. The German manager has never been a fan of players who play in that position. He had Nuri Sahin, Lars Bender and Sebastian Kehl at Dortmund who was given permission to roam up and down the pitch.
Players like Fabinho, Jorginho, Danilo Pereira and Wilfred Ndidi will provide the stability and freedom to other attacking midfielders and forwards to roam up the pitch. Often been accused of defensive vulnerabilities, a defensive midfielder will be the key to success for Jurgen Klopp.
Having lost their best creative playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool has already started their long search to replace the Brazilian in the summer. Klopp’s decision to pursue Thomas Lemar from Monaco in January backdropped when the French club demanded 90 million pounds to secure their stars signature. The Liverpool manager is known for waiting for right players and believes Lemar will fit nicely into the exciting Liverpool squad. Mahrez was another name linked, but the German decided against signing him.
The little Brazilian was an instant hit and their best midfielder in the last 2 years at Anfield. With his current form, he would walk in into any club in the world at the moment. Sometimes, Liverpool struggles to break down the oppositions who sit back and defend deep without Coutinho. This is another reason why replacing the Brazilian will remain as one of the toughest jobs for the Reds in the summer. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is an exciting player, but another player with spark and little more creativity will make Liverpool even more dangerous side. The most likely replacement is Thomas Lemar, but the former Mainz manager could turn to Julian Draxler, Malcolm, Pulisic, and Carrasco should Monaco not reduce the price tag. The target is well known and the Anfield loyalists will need to wait until the summer to see a new player posing for photos at the Melwood training ground.