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.
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
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.
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.
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