Lately it has been a mixed bag for Liverpool when it comes to form. The Reds celebrated a dramatic 5-4 win over Norwich recently and managed to bag themselves a place in the League Cup final where they will face Manchester City, but they have also been disappointing with three losses and one draw in 2016.
The current Liverpool squad have only one fit striker, which is out-of-form Christian Benteke while their defence has been switched around all season due to injuries. Liverpool have also had a nightmare when it comes to their unreliable goalkeepers.
The current Liverpool squad is lacking a solid spine in their starting XI. They need to have a top-class goalkeeper, at least two reliable central defenders, a quality central midfielder and a consistent striker. For example, Rafael Benitez during his peak with Liverpool had Pepe Reina in goal, Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia in central defence, Steven Gerrard (along with Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano) in midfield and Fernando Torres up front.
Klopp needs to attempt to create a new Liverpool spine in the summer so they can get back into the top four and actually compete next season.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen should be Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper target in the summer as he may just be willing to move to gain more consistent playing time. The German is tall, strong and full of confidence, which is something that Mignolet is currently lacking.
The Barcelona keeper is also comfortable with the ball at his feet and is well able to command his area especially from set-pieces, which is an area where Liverpool are currently conceding a lot of goals. Ter Stegen is only 23 so if he joined Liverpool and was a success, he would be a long term solution for their current goalkeeping woes.
Jack Butland is also proving himself to be one of the best goalkeepers currently in the Premier League as he is enjoying a great campaign with an impressive Stoke side. Butland would be a great option for Liverpool but Stoke would be reluctant to let him go due to his impressive form.
Stoke City are also currently only one point behind Liverpool so the Englishman would have to be convinced that Liverpool would be much more of a force next season before he would ever think of moving to Anfield.
Liverpool boss Klopp is currently pulling his hair out of his head because of the current mess that is the Liverpool defence. Klopp referred to his team’s failures at defending set-pieces as “complete rubbish”. The Reds brought in Steven Caulker on loan for the rest of the season, but he is unlikely to be there next term.
However, one can guarantee that Liverpool will be making defensive changes in the summer. The Anfield club are set to sign Schalke’s central defender Joel Matip, who will be a free transfer in the summer.
Schalke want the defender to sign a new contract but Matip has been reluctant to extend his stay at the club. The Cameroon international would be a great addition as he has worked hard to become one of the Bundesliga’s most respected defenders.
Matip is a consistent defender who loves to get stuck in with tackles and interceptions while also has plenty of pace, which Liverpool’s current defence lacks.
Subotic and Klopp are very familiar with each other as the defender played under Klopp at Mainz and then followed Klopp to Borussia Dortmund. Currently, the 27-year-old is struggling to get game time at Dortmund but his consistency and reliability would be very welcome in the current Liverpool squad.
Liverpool’s current midfielders are not physically strong or good enough to help the team control games. Emre Can and Lucas Leiva have been inconsistent this season, James Milner has been a disappointment and Joe Allen has only begun to show his potential recently.
Jordan Henderson is the Reds’ most pivotal midfielder and is a fan-favourite but many doubt if he is ready to be the club captain. Liverpool have already snapped up highly rated 19-year-old Marko Grujic for next season and the Serbian midfielder is expected to bring strength and quality to the Liverpool midfield.
Granit Xhaka should be put on the top of the list for Liverpool when it comes to midfielders and if reports from Sportbild are to believed then Klopp has already been in touch with the player’s representatives.
The Swiss international is the complete midfielder, as he gets stuck into midfield battles, creates chances, has an impressive shooting ability while he also puts in plenty of defensive work. However, Liverpool would have competition in signing the midfielder as Arsenal are also interested in bringing him to the Premier League, according to the Mirror.
Liverpool have been misfiring lately and have failed to score on numerous occasions when they have been dominating games. They have had only one fit striker in Benteke for the majority of the season while Divock Origi began to show promise before picking up a lengthy injury.
Daniel Sturridge has been out for most of the season with numerous different knocks and he would be a massive boost for Liverpool if he could stay fit on a consistent basis. Danny Ings has been a massive blow for Liverpool this season but his return to the team in the next campaign will be a huge lift as Liverpool fans know that he will work hard for the team and score goals regularly.
Liverpool have always had star strikers in the Premier League era such as Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Torres and Luis Suarez. This is something that they are without at the minute due to Sturridge’s constant injuries and Benteke’s failure to impress.
Liverpool need to bring in a top-class striker to spark their attack into life, such as Dortmund’s Pierre Emrick Aubameyang, who is quick, skillful and scores goals for fun. Liverpool would find it difficult to bring Aubameyang to Anfield without Champions League football but they need to find a confident player such as the Dortmund man to lead the attack like Suarez once did.
Klopp also has plenty of attacking midfielders to choose from such as Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Jordon Ibe and Adam Lallana while Lazar Markovic is currently out on loan. Don’t be surprised if Markovic doesn’t return to Anfield and Lallana is shown the exit door in the summer, which would leave the door open for someone like Alex Teixeira, who Liverpool failed to sign in January, according to Sky Sports.
Teixeira would provide so much more to a team than what players like Lallana and Ibe are currently doing, as they are struggling to score or show any end product while Teixeira’s already on 25 goals this season for Shakhtar Donetsk.
A clearout by Klopp at Anfield this season looks inevitable and he is no stranger to completely transforming a side in one transfer window. During his first season at Dortmund he sold 17 players and signed 13.
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Pundit Arena