What do Liverpool need to challenge in Europe?
Frank Monkhouse | 18 June 2017
Coral look at the areas Klopp must strengthen
Jurgen Klopp returned Champions League football with a top-four finish last season. There were jubilant scenes in May as The Reds secured fourth, but perhaps they shouldn’t have been too quick to congratulate, as they did fend off Arsenal by a single point, and finish miles behind champions Chelsea, 17 points to be exact.
So, with the money and fame that comes with being involved in the continent’s premier footballing competition, what’s next for Liverpool? Which areas of the pitch need immediate attention to ensure they kick-on in the coming season, cement their place as a top-four side, hold their own in the Champions League, and maybe challenge for the title? We look at possible transfers.
Goalkeeper – Joe Hart
Simon Mignolet forced his way into the starting line-up at Liverpool early last term, but he was unconvincing, to say the least, at times, and as well as keeping his team in a few games, he cost them points at times. It doesn’t look like Klopp has made his mind up on who is their nailed down number one, or perhaps he leaves it open to form and performances in training, like every other position on the pitch. They need a bit of stability at the back, and if their current crop of goalkeepers can’t put a run of form together, the manager should look elsewhere. Liverpool will be in desperate need of a safe, cool, experienced pair of hands in the Champions League. They really could do worse than Joe Hart, with some newspapers connecting the two.
Defender – Virgil van Dijk
The centre back position is another that must be improved, but Liverpool already have a solid, reliable and ambitious defender on their books in Mamadou Sakho. The 27-year-old Frenchman was simply superb when on-loan at Crystal Palace last term, turning around the fortunes of Sam Allardyce’s side. When he played well, Palace won. It remains to be seen if Klopp will give him a chance at Liverpool, but he should, and if he doesn’t, Spurs want him, apparently. The Reds have been heavily linked with a move for Dutchman Virgil van Dijk. They made a mess of an earlier approach, judged to be illegal, with the club forced to apologise and withdraw their interest. Bosses say the deal is now dead, but we don’t believe it. A £30m transfer fee has been reported, but for their money they’d be getting a proven Premier League player with Champions League experience. We rate him as this summer’s must have.
Forward – Mohamed Salah
Liverpool need investment up front. Sadio Mane did a job last season, but he can’t carry the burden of scoring goals in all competitions himself. Instead, they need one or two top-class, proven goals scorers. Is there another Michael Owen or Ian Rush out there? The club have been linked with plenty of strikers already this summer, and have captured Dominic Solanke from Chelsea, but at just 19 years old, he’s one for the future. Klopp has been chasing Mohamed Salah of Roma, but is finding the Italians difficult to do business with. A former Chelsea employee, Salah failed to impress at the bridge. Roma currently value him higher than Liverpool are willing to pay, but if they can sign their man they’ll be getting a form scorer with a point to prove in England.