You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.
Thougt I’d start with this metaphor amongst the current storm of negativity surrounding the team . Okay, in hindsight maybe we should’ve reinforced the squad in January. Personally I believe Jürgen did, like he said himself, have the money available but after getting nowhere with his favoured targets, decided to wait. Note to anyone shouting “what about Draxler.” Jürgen wants players motivated by succeeding, hard work ethic and teamwork not by money. Hence his move to PSG over us. I think that’s fairly noble to be honest, why sign someone just to please others? I’d much rather wait till summer and let Klopp go get who he really wants and who wants to be part of his project. Klopp’s been promised he’ll be able to bring in some key players by FSG. Yes I am aware we’ve heard this all before. Honestly I think we need to be patient enough to see what unfolds this summer and here’s why:
1. Why would one of the most sought after manager’s on the planet leave his sunbed and ice cold lager for an impossible job, where there’s limited funds and doesn’t have full control over who does or doesn’t come to Liverpool football club. I imagine a few will say money but I disagree. He’s not hard up is he and he’s a man of morals, why would he put his reputation at risk. He’s here because it’s a perfect fit and he must be backed by the owners, especially this summer. If not then 100% questions will need to be answered. I’ve seen the word FSG puppet thrown around on twitter. Really. A man of Jürgen’s integrity. Come on.
2. We’re all aware of Klopp’s track record of recognising potential superstars and have all witnessed his capability of developing player’s of a lesser ability. No names. Whether or not we’ve dipped in form, there’s no arguing how impressive we was before that disastrous January. It’s a mix of having a slim squad at the moment, disruption from Coutinho’s injury, AFCON, FIFA and teams simply adopting the same tactics against us. Not forgetting the oblivious that the team have simply under performed. Or did they over perform previously? Truth is we don’t know but one thing I’m certain of is our back up options are not of the quality needed to seamlessly slot into their covered spot. Which, again I believe/hope will get seen to in the summer. Not that they can’t improve under Jürgen’s watchful eye that is. We’ve got a decent starting eleven but 1/2 injuries and the cracks begin to appear.
3. I think these contracts being handed out are implementing Klopp’s plans on who he wishes to build the future team around. Believe it or not, I think he’s using this season to wean out the boys from the men. Then instruct who’s deserving of a higher wage and needs tying down to long term contracts. Look at Coutinho’s new 5 year deal worth £150,000 a week, thus making him the best paid player in the team. Now rumours of Lallana getting a new deal to match the Brazilians wage slip. There’s no denying that the two of them have been the heartbeat of the team at times and are model students of what Klopp preaches. Perfect role models for future teammates. There shouldn’t be any complaints of not paying high enough wages, hopefully this is a sign of what’s to come.
Who, I hear you ask? P.s this is purely my own perception of what’s needed in our team.
Mattia De Sciglio:
Yes folks a left back. An actual left back. He’s a 24 year old Italian who plays for AC Milan. Who can play with both feet, can play left or right back thus helping the much needed depth in our team. Impressively he’s played over a hundred games already for Milan and even wore the captains armband to mark the occasion. Not bad for a 24 year old. He’s very comfortable in possession, good in the air and importantly for us his concentration levels are high. De Sciglio’s fast, versatile and competent whether attacking or defending. Also whips in a brilliant cross. It’s rumoured after his impressive form at the Euros, Napoli offered €15 million which was turned down.
This time Inter Milan. Not all targets are from Serie A, promise. Even at 32 Handanovic is not a potentially great goalkeeper, he’s the finished article, experienced, proven and could fit straight in between our sticks. Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, he is one of only three non Italian keepers to be named Serie A goalkeeper of the year, winning the honor twice. He’s made over 800 appearances in all competitions and make no doubt about it still possesses the class we desperately need. Though he’s well over 6 foot and has a statue like physique, he’s actually well known for being agile and has shown his shot stopping abilities consistently for years. Nicknamed the Batman due to his acrobatic saves. This is what we need, a ready made, been there, got the t-shirt goalie and let Karius/Mignolet learn and continue with their progression. Nice little stat for you. This season Handanovic has attempted 80 claims for the ball with a 99% success rate. Beautiful.
A 15 stone, 21 year old German who stands 6’3″! Be honest, sounds good already doesn’t it. Just what our defence needs. He’s big and very dominant in the air which should benefit our set-piece woes. In that respect he’s sort of old school, strong, excels in one on ones and has a good eye for danger but for a 21 year old he’s much, much more than a lump it into row z style of defender. He’s very much part of the new generation of ball playing centre backs, he holds a high line and similar to Matip can really pass and isn’t shy when dribbling through the midfield. His season stats so far are decent: 41 interceptions, 46 clearances, 36 headers and a passing accuracy of 83%. Of course his youth means he’s capable of making the odd mistake but the thought of a Matip/Tah partnership is an exciting one. Both towering over opponents, strong in the air and confident on the ball. Tah’s valued at around the £18-million mark, though I can’t imagine the club will easily let him go.
Klopp attempted to attain the signature of the 20 year old German industrious winger in January but after finding many obstacles in the way, has been told to return in the summer to continue talks. Brandt joined Bayer Leverkusen from Wolfsburg in the January transfer window of 2014 for a bargain €350,000 and has been a regular starter ever since. Another 6 footer and the sort of winger that adds goal threat on a regular basis, has plenty of physicality and bags of energy to press from the front. Out of his 17 goals in 84 Leverkusen appearances, 6 came in consecutive games between March 20 and April 30 last year, the youngest player to achieve this since Muller. That’s some achievement. He plays on the left flank mostly but I think he could switch between left wing and left sided attacking midfielder. This season he has a mere 2 goals but, it’s a big but, he’s got 6 assists to his name and has created 29 goal scoring chances. He can score, take on players, create and assist. Would be very, very interesting under Klopp. Rumoured to be priced around the £17 million mark. Again he’s highly sought after so no doubt this price would be inflated.
Every great team needs a b***ard. Fact. The truth is we’ve not had a proper one since Mascherano. I think Sporting Lisbon’s Carvalho could be our nasty git, the kind of player that loves marauding, intercepting and battling with anyone and everyone. A midfield general as such. The Portuguese defensive midfielder is only 24 and his passing game is on point to say the least, with an passing accuracy of 88%, he’s made the most successful passes in his team by a clear mile (1170 passes). The second best in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. Not just short passes either he has an eye for picking attackers out long range. I think securing the services of a player that’s rated so highly really would be a statement of intent, he played a key role in Portugal winning the Euro’s last year and it didn’t go unnoticed. Manchester City the most recent to be linked with him along with us and his club are desperate to raise money in order to fund some big name signing’s and it has been reported that they are now ready to flog their most valuable asset, Carvalho. In terms of money, this could cost £30 million pounds, maybe even more. A very technically sound player that’d be a welcome addition at Liverpool.
Im probably deluded enough to think that we’d afford Lacazette but seriously this player would be perfect for us. The 25 year old French forward is an absolute goal machine, with pace to burn. It’s a given in the Premier League that a 20+ goal scorer is needed to give you the edge and give us back the ability to win a game when not playing at our best. That’s how you win trophies. His record speaks for itself, having played over 250 matches across all competitions for Lyon since 2010, he’s scored over 100 goals. Including being top goal scorer in 2014/15 and player of the year. This season is no different, having already scored 19 goals, 2 assists and creating 29 chances. He’s sort of a prime Sturridge with pace, desire and less injury prone. Personally I think a transfer like this could swing on whether or not we get Champions League football. Imagine the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Mané and Lallana supplying someone as prolific as Lacazette. I know dreamland, right? Maybe, maybe not? Arsenal have been linked for some time and reports are Lyon are looking to pocket as much as £60 million. Yes, a huge transfer fee but you could argue if Sturridge ends up leaving, he needs to be directly replaced.
Last one and it’s a wildcard.
The 20 year old Brazilian has been dubbed the next “Neymar” due to his flair, pace and natural talent. Since starting his career at Santos through to moving to Inter Milan he’s played 159 games in all competitions and scored 56 goals, you did hear me right, 56 goals. A reminder he’s 20! This Brazilian was pure acceleration and trickery at Santos and to be fair to him since moving to Inter hasn’t hardly started a single game to showcase himself. Is this because he’s not up to scratch or the fact they’ve got Icardi and Perisic banging in the goals. What I like about him is the south-American qualities that he seems to possess, the never give up attitude, chase every ball like it’s the only thing that matters in the world and the confidence/cockiness to attempt all sorts of sorcery. Aside from that he could be a very useful squad addition because he can play up front and also on either wing, so again adding width and much extra speed to the team. Inter Milan paid €25 million for Barbosa last summer but it seems he’s unwanted at the club so no surprise the rumours will be flying round come summer as he searches for game time. Who knows by summer we could have an all Brazilian attack, with a new member to the samba boys!?
This poor form of late has no doubt surely been a wake up call for Klopp in terms of squad depth and quality. That’s if he wasn’t already aware. It sounds like a few might be nearing the end of their time at Liverpool, which will only help free up funds for more incomings.
Whether you’re FSG in or out, how about we all get behind the team and see where we’re at in the summer. Let’s push the team on hard to finish in those precious Champions League spots.
Up the Reds!
Written by Ben Webb