Create

EPL 2016/17: 5 players Jurgen Klopp MUST bring to Liverpool next season

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns on April 16, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp has a huge task of improving the quality and quantity in his Liverpool squad

Liverpool‘s season is ending in yet another failure to win the elusive Premier League title. The 2016/17 season started with a bang as Liverpool took apart every team at both ends of the table until the turn of the year changed their fortunes drastically.

The Reds were knocked out of both the domestic cups and soon out of the running for the league title. A Champions League spot was considered to be secured with the first-half burst but Jurgen Klopp’s men are huffing and puffing on their way to the finish line with Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all on their tail.

Injuries to key players and the lack of squad depth have crippled the side’s morale and the fans’ mood has changed from one of optimism to plain worry.

Also Read: 5 reasons why Liverpool will win a Premier League title under Jurgen Klopp

Klopp has already acknowledged the lack of quality in the second half and has spoken about strengthening the squad. Liverpool definitely need players, not only to bolster the squad but also to improve the first-team, where a few positions are up for grabs.

Irrespective of a Champions League spot or not, Liverpool must sign top quality players if they are to even compete next season, as their rivals Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and the Manchester clubs will invest heavily as well.

So, here are 5 players Jurgen Klopp should lure to Anfield in the summer.


#1 Virgil van Dijk

NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07:  Virgil van Dijk of Southampton reacts during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Norwich City and Southampton at Carrow Road on January 7, 2017 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Signing Virgil van Dijk is the key to resolving Liverpool’s defensive issues

It is well-known fact that Liverpool’s defence is one of the weakest in the top six. Opponent teams target the Reds from corners and set-pieces and are even vocal about it, with Crystal Palace’s boss Sam Allardyce recently stating that everyone in the league was aware of Liverpool's frailties.

Such a statement can and should never be made against a side competing for the title and if Liverpool are to compete for the elusive prize, then they need to improve their defence.

Dejan Lovren continues to blow hot and cold and at 27 years of age, Klopp cannot wait for him to find consistency despite a new contract being signed. Joel Matip has the right qualities and consistency but like Lovren, he struggles with injuries as well.

Also Read: 5 signings who could have won Liverpool the League this year

It is imperative for a team to have a consistent centre-back pairing. To address the issue, a new centre-back has to be signed and no one is better suited to the role than Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk.

Tall, strong, comfortable in possession and touted to be one of the best in the Premier League, Van Dijk is hot property with champions-elect Chelsea and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City reportedly after him.

Liverpool have a track record of signing Southampton players and the performances of Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane definitely show the players from the south coast can step up.

Competition in the form of Chelsea and City means Champions League qualification is a must and even then, there will be heavy bidding for the 25-year-old.

Jurgen Klopp should use his persuasion skills and Liverpool should pay whatever is necessary to get the deal over the line as rectifying this defence is very important in the summer and the Dutchman is the perfect answer.

youtube-cover

(Video Courtesy – ScoutNationHD YouTube Channel)

#2 Sead Kolasinac

DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 16:  Sead Kolasinac of Bosnia and Herzegovina crosses the ball under pressure from Jon Walters of the Republic of Ireland during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium on November 16, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Sead Kolasinac (right) has already made over 100 appearances for Schalke

Liverpool’s left-back problems are well-documented. Since the departure of injury-prone Fabio Aurelio in 2012, the Reds are yet to field a quality full-back on the left. Jon Flanagan, a right-back by trade, filled the role well in Liverpool’s title challenge during the 2013/14 season but an injury stalled his progress and he is currently out of favour.

Jose Enrique did not possess the necessary game intelligence to play for Liverpool and in the case of Alberto Moreno, early signs pointed towards him finally plugging the problematic position. However, his superb attacking prowess could not mask his defensive weaknesses and the Reds went into the market last summer, trying to sign another left-back.

The efforts to sign a left-back failed and James Milner, the utility man, was converted to a full-back. He has been solid and at times spectacular. But the lack of pace and the inclination to cut back to his preferred right-foot before delivering the ball has slowed down Liverpool’s attacks many a time and this definitely needs rectifying in the summer.

Klopp needs the money to buy top players for more central positions, so a better option would be a free transfer. Further, given the success of Joel Matip’s transfer last summer, Klopp can return to the same club, Schalke, to sign their left-back Sead Kolasinac, who is out of contract in the summer.

The 23-year-old Bosnian has been a consistent performer for Schalke and has three goals along with seven assists so far this season. Currently, a number of clubs including Arsenal are rumoured to be vying for his signature and Klopp must get him to Merseyside.

Signing an experienced Bundesliga player at 23 years of age could prove to be the master-stroke that finally resolves a long-standing problem.

youtube-cover

(Video Courtesy – WorldofFootballHD YouTube Channel)

#3 Naby Keita

SCHLADMING, AUSTRIA - JULY 08:  Naby Keita of Red Bull Salzburg controls the ball during the friendly match between Red Bull Salzburg and West Brom on July 8, 2015 in Schladming, Austria.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
The diminutive Keita (centre) would bolster Klopp’s midfield without a doubt

Liverpool’s three-man midfield is currently doing the job with no European commitments. However, with European football next season, Liverpool need both depth and quality in the squad.

Jordan Henderson’s foot problems do not seem to end and he has not kicked a ball since the end of February. Emre Can has been filling in superbly for him but an injury to Adam Lallana meant Can had to play further ahead while Lucas Leiva filled in the holding midfield role.

Lucas is only an experienced stop-gap option and can expect to be sold in the summer. Georginio Wijnaldum has settled in well in his role and Marko Grujic still needs time to adapt to the league. Therefore, it is important for the club to acquire the services of a first-team quality player.

Also Read: Scout Report: Naby Keita, RB Leipzig's young midfielder

In the current scenario, rising Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita might turn out to be the perfect signing for Klopp and owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG). At 22 years of age, he is young and yet delivering in one of the toughest leagues, making him a good option for FSG.

He is versatile enough to play in the holding midfield role due to his athleticism, technique and the fact that he averages over 3 interceptions per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga. However, he is even more suited to the box-to-box role where his work-rate, dribbling and attacking capabilities have fetched him 8 goals and 7 assists in 27 league appearances.

Overall, Keita would represent a superb signing for the Reds and his addition will bolster the midfield in a major way, something the club need going into next season. Klopp must sign the Guinean as he represents the perfect investment with the potential to be a world-class player in the near future.

youtube-cover

(Video Courtesy – Bundesliga YouTube Channel)

#4 Julian Brandt

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20:  Julian Brandt of Germany scores his penalty in the shoot out during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Germany at the Maracana Stadium on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Julian Brandt is one of the most exciting youngsters in world football at present

The third player from Bundesliga on the list and this is only so because Germany is currently the home of some of the most exciting talents in Europe. Julian Brandt is a winger who plays for Bayer Leverkusen. Liverpool already tried to sign him in January but Leverkusen’s participation in the Champions League scuppered the move.

It is now common knowledge that Mane’s presence adds a new dimension to the attack as no other player in the squad provides pace, directness and goals like the Senegalese. This was one of the key reasons for Liverpool’s loss of form during Mane’s absence in January and a change in formation after his recent season-ending knee injury.

Also Read: Scout Report: Julian Brandt - Profiling the exciting 20-year-old

This makes buying a winger in the summer a no-brainer and preferably, two wingers are needed for Klopp’s style of play with the increasing fixture list. Brandt, one of the best young footballers in the world, is one of them.

The 20-year-old has 3 goals and 6 assists in the Bundesliga this season. While he definitely needs to improve his end-product, it is his pace, vision and dribbling ability while playing out wide that is needed at Liverpool. As a result, it is very important Klopp lands him in the summer to improve the squad’s quality and depth in the wide position.

youtube-cover

(Video Courtesy – ScoutNationHD YouTube Channel)

#5 Alexandre Lacazette

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 23:  Lyon's forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring Lyons goal during the Friendly match between Sporting CP and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on July 23, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Alexandre Lacazette is the perfect striker for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool

Liverpool’s faith in Daniel Sturridge to shake off his injury woes and be the main man up top ever since Luis Suarez left for Barcelona in 2014 is very likely coming to an end this summer. Divock Origi definitely has the right attributes and a high ceiling but he is yet to work his way permanently into the first team.

Roberto Firmino is one of the reasons Origi has failed to get a sustained run in the first team. However, the Brazilian has so far failed to show that he can be the 20-goal striker Klopp needs to launch a title assault.

Firmino has made more tackles and interceptions than any forward in the league this season and this underlines his work-rate. However, in the end, goals are very important, especially when playing in the striker’s role and so far, Firmino has scored 10+ goals in his two seasons at the club without looking like breaking the 20-goal barrier.

Also Read: 5 players we would love to see in the Premier League next season

This makes it important to get in a proven striker to improve Liverpool’s fortunes in front of goal while giving Origi the right challenge to improve his skill set. Olympique Lyon’s star striker Alexandre Lacazette perfectly fits the bill.

The Frenchman is the sort of striker who can easily interchange with Liverpool’s attacking midfield consisting of Mane, Firmino and Philippe Coutinho. Lacazette possesses good vision, dribbling and passing ability, however, the key attribute for Klopp is his outstanding finishing that has seen him score 20+ goals in the Ligue 1 for three consecutive seasons. At 25 years of age, he is hitting his peak years and if Klopp wants to turn Liverpool into a dominant force, then Lacazette is the man who should lead the line.

youtube-cover

(Video Courtesy – ScoutNationHD YouTube Channel)

Quick Links

Edited by Staff Editor
Be the first one to comment