After experiencing some glorious highs over the past two seasons, Liverpool have been brought crashing down to earth in the 2020-21 campaign. Jurgen Klopp's started the season as the defending champions after winning their first Premier League title in over thirty years and even topped the table until Christmas Eve.
However, in the games that followed, the Reds capitulated in rather unbelievable circumstances, as they lost a staggering six Premier League games at Anfield for the first time in their illustrious history. Klopp and co have been hampered by injuries — with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip ruled out for the entire season — but Liverpool's alarming nosedive in 2021 cannot be attributed to just injuries.
The reigning champions failed to break down deep blocks time and again, while a handful of key players like Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino performed well below expectations.
Liverpool don't need a squad overhaul, but after almost three seasons with the same starting XI, Klopp knows he needs fresh blood to make them a force to be reckoned with again.
On that note, here are five players who have been linked with moves to Anfield, as the Reds gear up for an interesting summer.
#5 Ozan Kabak | Schalke, on loan at Liverpool
Ozan Kabak already plays for Liverpool, but the Turkish defender joined the club on a short-term loan deal from Schalke in January. His first Premier League start was a baptism of fire, as a calamitous passage of play involving Alisson Becker led to a goal for Leicester City in the 3-1 victory.
However, since then, Kabak has steadily grown in stature and become a key player for the Premier League champions. Due to Liverpool's injury crisis at the back, the 20-year-old has played alongside Nat Phillips for the lion's share of his Anfield tenure, as Klopp continues to make do with a makeshift central defensive pairing.
Liverpool have the option to sign Kabak permanently for £18 million, a figure that represents good value for a player of his caliber.
#4 Yves Bissouma | Brighton & Hove Albion
With Gini Wijnaldum looking increasingly likely to leave the club this summer, Yves Bissouma has emerged as a top target for Liverpool. The Malian midfielder is Brighton's prized asset and has been Graham Potter's standout player this season, as he continues to attract suitors from the Premier League.
An energetic midfielder blessed with an excellent passing range, Bissouma has been praised for his workrate, defensive workrate and ability on the ball. The 24-year-old is at the right age to keep on improving and could take his game to a new level with better teammates around him.
Klopp is reportedly said to be keeping tabs on him and it remains to be seen if he moves on to greener pastures this summer.
#3 Donyell Malen | PSV Eindhoven
Widely reported to be Liverpool's top attacking target this summer, former Arsenal star Donyell Malen could return to England this summer. The Dutchman has enjoyed a stunning season with PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie, having made a name for himself as a versatile attacker renowned for his pace and goalscoring ability.
Malen is also an excellent dribbler of the ball and has been deployed as a left-sided forward, indicating that he could be the perfect addition to Liverpool's current attacking options.
The Reds, though, are unlikely to have a free run at him, with Juventus said to be keeping tabs on him.
#2 Ibrahima Konate | RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate has been hailed as one of the most exciting young defenders in world football and is reportedly set to join Liverpool this summer, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Frenchman tends to dominate attackers aerially and is also incredibly quick considering his stature, making him the perfect fit for Liverpool's high defensive line.
Konate is experienced for someone who is just 21 years old and has often been away from the spotlight due to Dayot Upamecano's presence at the heart of the Leipzig defense. However, he reportedly rejected several offers before agreeing a deal with the Reds.
Liverpool are yet to officially announce the deal, but Klopp is set to add Konate to his squad for the 2021-22 season barring a last-minute change of heart.
#1 Florian Neuhaus | Borussia Monchengladbach
One of the most consistent players in an exciting Borussia Monchengladbach side, Florian Neuhaus has quietly enhanced his reputation over the past two seasons. The elegant midfielder is one of the candidates being considered by the Reds to reinforce their squad this summer, as Klopp continues to look for Wijnaldum's long-term replacement.
Neuhaus ticks a lot of boxes and is capable of contributing to both phases of play, making him the ideal candidate to add another dimension to Liverpool's midfield. Bayern Munich are also interested in the 24-year-old, so the Reds don't have too much time to waste if they are really keen on him.
Joachim Low is likely to hand Neuhas a call-up for the European Championships later this year and his value is likely to soar if he performs well in the tournament.