The season of 2016/17 between August and the start of 2017, Liverpool were getting called potential ‘title winners’ by many TV pundits because of the style of football and the quality of players. We were blowing teams out of the water and had an amazing home record, winning 21 times in all competitions, we were the leading goal scorers for the majority of the season too.
Then came along the injuries to our star players, Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana costing us in so many games especially in January and in the run up to the end of the season, with the final push for top 4 which really highlighted the weakness of our squad depth. When Liverpool have a fully fit squad they are as good as anybody in the league and it is really exciting to watch the red men do the job.
With the Champions League games under the Anfield floodlights returning next season, if we get past the qualifying round, every Liverpool fan is keeping a close eye on the transfer market to see how we can improve the squad we have got now. A centre back and a left back should be the priority because of the poor form of Dejan Lovren and I can’t see James Milner playing three games in a week when the Champions League campaign starts.
This transfer window promises to be very exciting at Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp expected to spend big especially if we qualify for the Champions League, but all the attention seems to be on the in-comings rather than the outs, Mamadou Sakho would still walk into our defence, but his issues with Klopp may see him never wear the Liverpool shirt again. His attitude around Melwood and on the pre-season tour last summer didn’t go unnoticed by Klopp with the French international being sent home for messing about, always turning up late for training and not turning up for assessments with the LFC medical staff.
With Crystal Palace failing to come up with the £30M that Liverpool are after, it looks like he will be staying put in the u23’s because of the lack of interest. Another player who is close to leaving Liverpool is Alberto Moreno, he doesn’t seem focused during games and always leaves space at the back, leading for the opposite team to get in on goal and it is clear that Klopp has lost faith in the player given him very limited game time. With the arrival of Mohamed Salah, It will definitely be the end of Lazor Markovic’s time at Anfield, recent reports have linked him with a move to Watford to team back up with Marco Silva the manager he was with at Hull City. He has had loan spells with Fenerbahce, Sporting and Hull City and failed to impress enough to get back into the Liverpool line up and it would be a massive surprise to everyone if he manages to break into the starting line up now.
Jon Flanagan is another player who could leave this summer too with Nathaniel Clyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold getting a shout before him. He was once labelled the scouse Cafu in the 13/14 season with his strong performances. The 24 year old suffered a horrible injury and had to have three operations on his knee which hasn’t made him the player he once was and his loan spell at Burnley last season never done him any justice.
If Liverpool manages to get between £60M-£80M from these sales, that would be a massive boost for reinforcements for the team and hopefully bring in players who can perform week in week out. Meaning we can have a challenge for the title and domestic cups and not have a disappointing time in the Champions League.
Now is an important time for Klopp to build the right squad going into next season with another top 4 finish, if Liverpool fails to finish in the top 4 next season it will feel like we are taking one step forward and two steps back – that’s why it’s important we make the right signings and get a strong squad together to challenge on all fronts.
Let’s have a look at Liverpool’s squad depth and where we need to improve.
Simon Migolet will start the new season without having to worry about not being the no.1 between the sticks. He responded excellent to being dropped half way through the season for his poor form but managed to break back into the starting line up and hasn’t let Loris Karius have a sniff of being back in goal. His man of the match performances and the strong saves against stoke last season would give him lots of conference going into the new season. Loris Karius joined the Liverpool squad with loads of good reviews about him, but failed to impress in his few games he had for the team. With Danny Ward coming back from his loan move from Huddersfield is another boost in the goalkeeper department with Klopp rejecting a move for him to return to Huddersfield so Klopp must have big plans for the Welsh man.
Nathaniel Clyne is a solid defender at going forward and chasing back but come under some strong criticism for giving an average performance. Trent Alexander-Arnold has recently signed a new long-term contract, Klopp is a huge admirer of the 18 year old giving him a good run out in the domestic cup competitions and talks proudly of the youngster in interviews, it looks like he will have a bright future at Liverpool under Klopp. Jon Flanagan could do with another season being loaned out at maybe a Championship team where he will get game time and hopefully come back knocking on that right back position.
James Milner has been a solid player in that position last season for Liverpool, but with his age he will find it hard to play the full 90 minutes on the weekend and mid week games so I think Liverpool signing a left back in this summer window is a must! Klopp has given Alberto Moreno plenty of game time to try and prove himself, but failed so many times and a player like James Milner keeping you out the team says it all.
Joel Matip is up there with one of the best free signings Liverpool have ever got, he is only 25 years old so he will be at the heart of the Liverpool defence for years to come. Dejan Lovren is touch and go in games, he will superb in games then goes missing or makes costly mistakes in a different game. Liverpool can’t rely on a player like this; especially in another season fighting for a top 4 position and in the Champions League games. Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move for vanDijk, which would be for the perfect fit for Liverpool and the perfect fit to play alongside Joel Matip. Like many Liverpool fans I would like to see Joe Gomez given a good run in the team to see how he gets on because he has bags of potential, but I think cup competitions would suit him for now. Klavan is the type of player who would come on in the last 5 minutes to run the clock down, he is a reliable player and would probably last a hand full of games a season but understands the way Klopp wants his defenders to play and has the right attitude towards the game.
Jordan Henderson on his day is the best defensive midfielder out there, his work rate at winning the ball back and his passing is second to none. The only problem with Jordan Henderson is that injury of his that never seems to go away which limited him to just 15 starts last season. Emre Can is the man who has stepped in to cover the injured Captain and what a job he has done, his leadership and passion on the pitch is something that Klopp and the Liverpool fans love and he could be a real contender of keeping Henderson out the team. Lucas Levias days out Liverpool are being numbered by the day and especially if Liverpool complete the signing of Naby Keita, then it would certainly be the end of the road for Lucas. Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move for Naby Keita and even the player telling RB Leipzig his desire to join Jurgen Klopp’s side. Liverpool isn’t short of players in the middle of the field. The box to box players of Gini Wijandum and Emre Can give Liverpool a real power in the midfield last season and would definitely give Klopp something to think about. There is also the pace and skill of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana who pull the strings when getting the ball forward towards the front line and come up with a goal or two between them. The younger two of Marko Gurjic and Ovie Ejaria who have been around the first team last season should be getting a start in the domestic cups. It is going to be really interesting to see who Klopp starts with in his midfield next season with so many quality players. Liverpool have been heavily linked with Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain which is rising eye brows with Liverpool supports because of the players already in that role and the price tag.
The pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah sounds very exciting, Mane had an excellent debut season for the reds scoring 13 times in 27 appearances and was a massive loss to Liverpool when he went to the AFCON only to end his season early to an injury to his knee. Mohamed Salah joined from Roma after an impressive season with the Italian side scoring 15 times in 31 games. Philippe Coutinho also puts on a good performance on the left winger and cutting in to smash one in with his right foot, but Klopp has plans for him to play in more of a central midfielder roll which he tried out at West Ham away and turned out to be one of Coutinho’s best games of the season. Sheyi Ojo is another player to catch the end with his electric pace and his potential, he has been a linked with a season long loan move to Newcastle which would benefit the player massively with more game time in the North East then at Anfield.
Liverpool’s new number 9 Bobby Firmino, the Brazilian is massive in Klopp’s plans going forward having played 66 times since he joined and scoring 21 times so far, his skill and work rate in matches is just what Liverpool needed to lead the line just after the departure of Luis Suarez. Jurgen Klopp’s first signing of the summer was Dominic Solanke from Chelsea with the player saying he’s a number 9 player. He won the best player in the u20’s world cup tournament and hopefully starts challenging for a place in the first team. Divock Origi is a young player that has the potential to become one of the best in Europe but with the lack of game time it will be hard to get the best out of him, a loan move could suit the player to gain more conference in front of goal. Danny Ings has had a horrible injury since joining from Burnley in 2015 he has even cut his summer holidays short to return to Melwood to get fully fit for the start of the season, which is a bonus in the terms of depth in the frontline, as soon as he took to the pitch Liverpool fans loved him and so did Klopp so hopefully he will be starting for the reds sooner rather than later. Last in the ranks is Daniel Sturridge, when he signed for Liverpool on the 2nd January 2013 and scored on his debut against Mansfield Town in the FA cup third round, everyone knew him and Suarez upfront will cause problems. The season 13/14 when he ended up scoring 21 goals that nearly won us the league, since then he has suffered from a hip injury and has received harsh criticism about it. He just isn’t the player that once was a few years back but would be a good edition starting upfront in the domestic cups.
The quality of players Liverpool have got in their squad is good but not the best especially in the defence. With the team we have got they should have a good run in the domestic cups and hopefully a good run in the Champions League. If we made the top 4 with some of star players out injury why can’t we do it again next season? Liverpool need to buy right and buy good in this transfer market because this is the time Jurgen Klopp can build Liverpool into a really force like they was in the 70’s and 80’s but only time will tell and I am sure Klopp, the transfer committee and FSG are doing the right things to get Liverpool back to where they belong.