Let’s face it, Liverpool’s season has been, at best, underwhelming and, at worst, an absolute disaster. In the beginning of the season they seemed like one of the favourite horses in the odds and now they are an outsider even for European places, like a midtable contender among the 2021 Belmont Stakes horses.
Amazingly, it means that after delivering a Champions League and Premier League title in the past two years that Juergen Klopp has work to do in the months ahead.
Here we look at three transfer deals that could shape Liverpool’s summer.
The Centre Back conundrum
There is no hiding the absences of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and, more importantly, Virgil Van Dijk, who is one of the best defensive players of all time, have had a big negative effect on the Reds’ season. Rather than the individuals themselves though a huge lack of depth has been shown up.
The January recruitment hasn’t done what it was supposed to either. One of those players – Oban Kazak – will almost definitely be heading back to his parent club in a couple of weeks. That means a new centre back is an absolute must.
That new man could well be Ibrahima Konate. The 21-year-old RB Leipzig defender is valued at around £30m but it would be money well spent. He is comfortable in possession and boasts a short pass completion of over 90% whilst defending comes naturally too.
Konate wins 72% of his aerial battles, 62% of his tackles and makes, on average, nearly two clearances per match. The one potential red flag that needs to be waved is the fact that, like the club’s current centre half options, Konate has dealt with a couple of injuries in recent times.
Improving the attacking depth
You simply cannot knock the attacking talents on offer at Anfield; certainly not the main four anyway. That’s Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Bobby Firmino and last summers £41m man Diogo Jota by the way. Yes, maybe on their form this season you could dig at some but let’s not. The longer-term servants have done wonders for Liverpool whilst Jota’s impact has rightly been lauded.
It’s that last point we want to focus on. Jota has come in and improved what’s on offer. The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, and to a lesser extent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, just don’t offer enough. With names like Patson Daka and Donyell Malen being linked from Salzburg and PSV respectively, it just screams out that it’s time to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to the older boys.
For context, Daka has scored 34 goals this season with Malen on 27 across all competitions; Shaqiri has managed just 21 appearances! Either of those names mentioned would improve Liverpool’s bench exponentially – and for around £25m it would be a steal.
The unlikely nuclear
Okay, so this final suggestion is certainly from left field but it would definitely make Klopp’s starting XI stronger. Now, let’s start off with the controversial part of this. Liverpool should look to sell Firmino, who we’ve already acknowledged as having been fantastic for the club; the Brazilian has been sensational for Liverpool since arriving at the club in 2015, however, all good things must come to an end. Firmino’s end looks like it is on the way anyway so Klopp should hurry it along.
The big question comes when you consider who is available to play his role in the central, slightly deeper striking role. It just so happens that a certain Harry Kane is believed to be pushing for the Tottenham exit door this summer. Is putting Liverpool in the race for Kane ambitious? Yes. Why is it? The truth is, we can’t see why.
Liverpool are a bigger club than Tottenham, they offer Kane the chance to win trophies and, depending on how the season ends, Champions League football too. If clubs like Man United think they can attract Kane then so can Liverpool.
There you have it, three big transfers that could shape Liverpool’s summer. What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.