Liverpool had a rollercoaster season over the course of the past 10 months. The Premier League season started with a top four finish as the priority. However, the Reds surprised everyone with scintillating football in 2016 to end the year still in contention for the title.
However, the arrival of 2017 dashed the hopes of both title and trophies in successive weeks before injuries to key personnel further dented the morale of the side. Nevertheless, the team dug deep with the right mentality to finish fourth ahead of perennial top four presence Arsenal and big-spending Manchester United.
Ultimately, the season was one of progress on all fronts with top players improving, fringe players stepping up and the club initiating the transition of turning doubters into believers. A Champions League qualifier in August is the only step left to reach the group stages. Liverpool will be seeded for the tie, so it should not pose too much problem for the Merseyside club.
Meanwhile, between now and August, Liverpool have a very important summer coming up. Jurgen Klopp has to use this opportunity to do a number of things as their rivals will only get better next season.
Out of all of them, here are the top five things Liverpool have to do by all means this summer.
#1 Clear the Coutinho situation
There is a certain allure for South American players to play for Barcelona in particular and Liverpool have come out at the sharp end of the stick of this desire before. The Reds lost Argentine Javier Mascherano in August 2010 under strenous circumstances and more recently, Uruguayan star Luis Suarez joined Barcelona in 2014 under more amicable reactions from the fans.
However, the point remains that it is a dream for these players to join the Catalan club and Brazilian Philippe Coutinho will definitely love to do the same. However, Liverpool cannot afford to lose him at this juncture. There is a reason he is called O Magico and he is rightfully the talisman of the team.
Roberto Firmino might be Liverpool’s most effective player, Daniel Sturridge could be Jurgen Klopp’s best finisher and Adam Lallana can very well be one of the first names on the team-sheet, but Coutinho is the true talisman of the side. Talismans are the players who combine outstanding ability with a great work ethic and step up every time the club needs to be picked up.
They not only play well but win matches on their own and make players around them better. Coutinho belongs exactly to this elite category and is truly the face of the side and losing him will put a huge dent in the side
Coutinho might eventually join Barcelona, but for the coming season, Liverpool have to keep him Anfield. This decision should be made clear by the club and the player. In this way, if Barcelona miss out on any of their prime targets and want Coutinho to play in the Andres Iniesta role, their advances will be met with a swift reply from the Liverpool hierarchy.
Jurgen Klopp has built for the team to take off. And in order to do so, his team’s talisman and already Premier League’s highest-scoring Brazilian at just 24 years of age has to be in the mix.