5 things Jurgen Klopp needs to do to ensure Liverpool are title contenders next season

Klopp’s side faltered at the start of this year

After having had a great start to the season, Liverpool have endured a tough last month and have fallen down the pecking order on the Premier League table. They have been knocked out of the League Cup by Southampton, have had their FA Cup ambitions thrown out of the window by Wolverhampton Wanderers, and currently sit in 5th spot in the league.

Given their recent troubles, the Reds are mostly out of the reckoning for the Premier League title for yet another season and the Merseysiders will have to go back to the drawing board yet again in search of glory when the season ends.

While the next season is still months away, Klopp may need to do over the course of the next few months to help his side become title contenders for the upcoming season.

#1 Qualify for the UEFA Champions League

The KOP would love to see European nights back at Anfield

Having been knocked out of all the Cup competitions and practically out of the reckoning for the Premier League title, it is a necessity that the Reds qualify for the upcoming season of the UEFA Champions League. While the financial benefits that arise out of qualifying for Europe’s elite competition would suffice as motivation, we believe it is the attraction of competing in the competition that would really benefit the club.

After being a regular feature in the competition for several years, Liverpool have sporadically been involved in the competition and that has severely affected their ability to attract quality players from England and abroad. They might not be in the Top 4 at the moment, but this Klopp led side has shown the capability to destroy oppositions on numerous occasions in the past and the need of the hour is to prioritise on their league position, a proposition not made very tough by their non-involvement in other competitions.

Should they qualify, they will find themselves in a better position financially and could woo fine talents from around the world, and bring back those glorious European nights at Anfield!

#2 Sign a resilient defensive midfielder

Javier Mascherano was the last quality defensive midfielder in the Liverpool squad

Over the course of the last few seasons, one very notable observation amongst several Liverpool fans as well as numerous pundits is that Liverpool are too nice on the pitch. There was a time when the likes of Javier Mascherano, Jamie Carragher, and Steven Gerrard formed the spine of the team. While their quality as players remains indubitable, it must not be forgotten that they were men who were more than willing to face a fight when presented with an opportunity.

The current squad, or rather, the squads over the last few years have lacked the steel the likes of Mascherano possessed, making Liverpool one of the nicer sides in the league. The reason for that could be singled out as the side not having a capable enough defensive midfielder who can lend the right balance to the attacking prowess of his side.

When the transfer window opens, it is important that Klopp dips into the coffers and bring a capable defensive midfielder to Anfield to add the required steel to his midfield. Yes, we know he has a liking for Emre Can and the German has shown his abilities in the past. Yet, we think it would be a mistake if the management at the club does not bring in a solid midfielder.

#3 Get rid of the deadwood and invest in depth

Moreno in all probabilty leave Anfield in the summer

To say this Liverpool side contains a few players who are definitely not in the long term plans of their manager would be an understatement. The likes of Lazar Markovic, Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan, Alberto Moreno, Danny Ings (largely due to numerous injuries) and Adam Bogdan have all but seen their Liverpool future spiral downwards over the course of time, yet remain on the books of the club.

Add to that the likes of Daniel Sturridge – who has been restricted to a bit-part role at the club – and the ageing Lucas Leiva – who continues to be picked sporadically to be one of the centre-halves for his side – and it can be said that there are several players the club needs to get rid of.

The mere wages that these players are paid is definitely hurting the club at the moment as they remain on the books yet do not add quality to the depth of the unit. It is time Klopp made the decision to get rid of the players who do not feature in his long-term plans and bring in motivated quality players who give the side options, which they seemed to have lacked on numerous occasions.

Klopp has shown in the past that he is not afraid to ring in a number of changes to his unit in order to succeed and having been at the club for a while now, it is time he made the tough, yet requisite decisions, to improve his side’s chances of finding success.

#4 Upgrade defensive options

Joel Matip has been the only reliable option at the back for Liverpool

How does a side that has scored the highest number of goals in the league thus far not remain in contention for the title? The answer is simple – you ship more goals than desired as Liverpool have done on numerous occasions since the departure of Rafa Benitez and find yourself out of contention.

The side’s defence has been a mess on numerous occasions and has kept a clean sheet just 6 times in their 24 fixtures, displaying their inability to remain cohesive and contain even teams that have found the going tough in front of the goal.

Save for the right-back position – where Nathaniel Clyne continues to put in solid performances and has an able deputy in the talented Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool lack the required depth in other departments in defence. Their goalkeepers have blown hot and cold, they lack a suitable partner for the talented Joel Matip and the ageing James Milner remains their best answer to a struggling Moren. A manager of the pedigree of Klopp will be aware of how heavily his defence has cost him this season.

Simply put, this defence lacks winners, as well as leaders, and Klopp and co. would be foolish to not mend the holes that appear in this side’s defence.

#5 Sign world-class striker

Origi and Sturridge haven’t impressed Klopp this season to be made the No. 1 striker

Liverpool don’t have a consistent striker to feed off the quality that lies in the side’s midfielders that include Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana.

The aforementioned players possess the ability to tear even the tightest of defences with their ability on and off the ball. Yet, the side has lacked the required penetration at times and it could be largely attributed to the side lacking a striker who can consistently knock the ball into the back of the net.

History is an indication that Liverpool have flourished when they have had a world class striker. The likes of Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez made the club a dominant force during their time at the club and gave their fans a lot to cheer about. Cut to the present, and a struggling Daniel Sturridge, and an up-and-coming Divock Origi remain the only out and out strikers the side has to show for and the side’s creativity is not channelled positively.

Liverpool have not been a club that has often made the marquee signings in the past. Yet, it is what is needed. Not only would it add instant quality to the side’s attack, it would also send the right signals amongst the footballing fraternity that the side is serious about regaining their status as an elite club.

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Edited by Staff Editor