The season looks over for Liverpool after a 2-0 shambolic defeat at Anfield by Ancelotti’s High-flying Everton on the weekend. The Reds have won one game in the last 5 fixtures and lie at 6th position with 40 points. Liverpool must improve their form as there are plenty of clubs lurking for the top 4 spots. If the club fails to qualify for Europe next season, then key players like Mohamed Salah might look for better opportunities elsewhere.
Liverpool amassed 198 points over the course of the last 2 seasons. They won a league title and a champions league in that duration. They went unbeaten for almost a year and displayed a brand of football that the kopties have been longing for since the noughties. Klopp improved players like Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino who were at the club when he arrived. Bargains like Sadio Mane, Gini Wijnaldum, Joel Matip, and Andy Robertson followed the coming season. In the early days, Liverpool were a team that was great going forward but lacked the defensive guile.
With key acquisitions of Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, and Sadio Mane in 2017/18, Liverpool fixed their shaky defense. Within a span of 3 years, Klopp developed Liverpool from a top 4 club to title contenders. But, recently the Reds are in awful form and they are struggling to win any game. Some fans might attribute the change in fortunes to the injury crisis at the center-back position. But Liverpool’s current form shows a deeper crisis within the team. Something needs to change at Liverpool to get back to where they were a few months ago.
To become title contenders again, Liverpool must now add some depth and quality to the first team. Reds have an aging squad with players such as James Milner, Jordan Henderson, and Gini Wijnaldum in their early 30’s. Key players such as Firmino, Salah, Van Dijk, and Mane are at the prime of their careers. It is necessary for Klopp to spend big in the summer and make sure that Liverpool is back challenging for titles.
Lets take a look at 5 positions that need strengthening:-
Since the arrival of Alisson Becker in the summer of 2018, Liverpool never really had any issue between the post. In the past 2 seasons, Alisson has provided stability to a once-shaky backline and was instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League and Premier League success. Lately, Alisson’s mistakes costed the Reds in a 4-1 humbling by the hands of Man City. It’s not the first time that Alisson’s tendency to overplay the ball has costed the Reds crucial points. It makes sense that Liverpool goes and invests in a young keeper who can be an understudy to Alisson and eventually provide healthy competition for the first-team squad.
There is no doubt Adrian who turns 35 this year is not premier league level anymore. The other backup choice, Caohmin Kelleher has displayed some potential on the fringes of the first team. But he has never played at the premier league before and there are questions as to whether he will reach the required potential to ever play regularly for the Reds.
2) A Senior Center-back
Liverpool’s backline has been ravaged with injuries. During the season, all senior center backs in the first team have suffered serious injuries. Some of the critics blame Klopp for not signing a replacement for outgoing Dejan Lovren in the summer.
Van Dijk has missed the better part of the season. Meanwhile, the other two senior center-backs Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are injury-prone. Liverpool recruited two young center backs in the last 24 hours of the January transfer window. Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak look promising but they need a lot more experience of playing in the premier league before they are considered worthy of starting for the Reds regularly.
Liverpool should dive into the summer transfer market and get someone experienced at the back. They should also not hesitate to get rid of Joel Matip if they sign Kabak. Ben Davies should be loaned to a premier league side in the coming summer. Liverpool desperately needs reinforcements at the back as they currently have more goals conceded in 25 games this season than they had in each of the full previous 2 seasons.
3)A backup Rightback
Trent Alexander Arnold’s recent performances have been mediocre and he looks like the shadow of a player he was in the last 2 seasons. He broke through the youth setup at Melwood in the 2016/17 season. In the last two seasons, he has established himself as a valuable member of the first team. Trent is probably the first name on the team-sheet when fit under Klopp. He has made more than 100 appearances for Liverpool since his debut.
Trent, known as an established crosser of the ball. He drives up on the wing leaving his space compromised for a counter-attack. Van Dijk would often provide reliable cover for Trent to bomb forward, but Van Dijk’s injury has spelled doom for the Reds. Liverpool has used Joe Gomez and Fabinho as a backup option at right-back in the past 2 seasons. This season, both of them sustained long-term injuries as well that have led Trent to play almost every minute for the Reds. Trent is a young player and Klopp should not play him every fixture. Liverpool needs to sign a full-time right back that can step in and provide Trent with much-needed rest.
4)A Central Midfielder
Liverpool does need one world-class central midfielder to add more quality there. Gini Wijnaldum’s contract runs out in the summer and it seems unlikely that he will re-sign for the Reds. Milner is past his best and has barely featured for Liverpool this season. Meanwhile, Naby Keita lacks the quality to be a regular starter for Liverpool and Oxlade Chamberlain is injury prone. To make matters even worse, Fabinho has been used by Klopp this season at center-back, providing an opportunity for young Curtis Jones to fill in the gap at central midfield.
Liverpool have plenty of midfielders but some of them are past their prime while some are not good enough to be a regular starter. The addition of Thiago in the summer added some quality in the middle of the park. But Liverpool does require one more Thiago’esque signing to become title contenders again.
Liverpool’s dynamic front 3 of Mane, Salah, and Firmino are lacking the ruthlessness they had the season before. Their inability to score goals has led Liverpool to lose plenty of points this season. It is only a matter of time before Klopp dives into the market to find someone of more quality. The rumor of Salah leaving for Spain might gather up some heat in the summer. If Liverpool loses Salah, then they have to clearly invest the money into buying a replacement for him. Diego Jota has provided some competition for the front 3 but Shaquiri, Origi, and Minamino find themselves on the fringes with limited opportunities.
Liverpool’s squad requires rejuvenation and more depth in certain positions to become competitive again. Man City is ruthless this season with 10 wins on the bounce and looks destined for the league title. Guardiola faced a similar issue with center-backs last season. He signed Ruben Diaz and Nathan Ake in the summer and those signings have fixed the city’s leaky defense.
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