What Jurgen Klopp needs in January to get Liverpool back in the top 4
Jurgen Klopp will no doubt be using the World Cup break to plot Liverpool’s resurgence after a disappointing start to the 2022/23 Premier League season. The Reds went into the campaign expected to once again compete with Manchester City for the title. Many fans were using their free bets – or online casino gratis guthaben as they say in Germany – to back Liverpool to reclaim the trophy. But 4 defeats in their opening 10 games all-but ended any title hopes before Christmas.
Painful defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United left Liverpool down in 12th place in the table at one stage. Thankfully, Klopp’s side managed to get back to winning ways and victories over Tottenham and Southampton saw them climb up to 6th before the World Cup break. Liverpool are a whopping 15 points behind leaders Arsenal and 10 behind Manchester City so it’s extremely difficult to see them getting back in the title race. Therefore, their main focus needs to be getting back into the top four.
The Reds currently sit four points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United, seven behind fourth-placed Tottenham and eight off Newcastle United. The good news is, they have a game in hand over two of their rivals and there are 24 games remaining so they have plenty of time to close the gap.
Top 4 still expected
The bookmakers clearly think Liverpool will rediscover their best form after the New Year as they are still 4/7 third favourites behind Man City [1/100] and Arsenal [1/20] to finish in the top four this season. Tottenham [11/10] are backed to claim fourth place with Man Utd [5/4], Newcastle [11/8] and Chelsea [7/2] missing out.
Given their current situation, Klopp would probably bite your hand off if you offered him third right now, and he’ll be hoping to use the upcoming January transfer window to bolster his squad and boost their chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
It’s no secret that Liverpool need to inject fresh blood into their ageing midfield and we could see Klopp bringing new faces this winter. Fabinho hasn’t been on top form this season, Jordan Henderson is coming towards the end of his career while Thiago Alcantara is also 31-years-old so long-term replacements for the trio are needed.
Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner are all out of contract next summer, meaning Liverpool are going to need to overhaul their midfield department over the next couple of windows.
Jude Bellingham is Liverpool main top target but he’s not expected to leave Borussia Dortmund until the summer and they’ll face stiff competition for the £100m+ rated England international. Declan Rice is another player who’s been linked but again he won’t be leaving West Ham mid-season.
Brighton’s Moises Caicedo has emerged as a more realistic target for January. He’s enjoyed an excellent start to the season and knows Premier League football, so he could be an excellent addition who’d compete with Fabinho in the holding role. Stanislav Lobotka is another potential target after impressing at Napoli while Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic has long been linked with a move to Anfield.
Liverpool will wait to try and sign Bellingham in the summer but they need reinforcements in January as well, so it will be interesting to see which midfielder they go for.
Attacker also needed?
A series of injuries to key players like Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota left Liverpool short of options in attack, so Klopp may look to bring in another body this winter. While a long-term replacement for Roberto Firmino may be needed, that situation won’t be resolved until the summer.
However, Liverpool may look to bring in an attacking midfielder as they don’t really have a traditional ‘No.10’ in their squad. Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho are exciting young talents but it’s a lot to ask of them to drag the club back into the top four, so Klopp may look for a more experienced name.
James Maddison has emerged as a transfer target and he could be the answer for Liverpool. The England international has been excellent once again for Leicester City this season and would be a terrific addition to Klopp’s squad if they could get a deal done.
If Klopp opts for a more versatile attacker who can play in various positions, he may go for Cody Gakpo. The PSV Eindhoven star has been sensational for his club over the past 18 months and is impressing for Holland at the World Cup so he could emerge as a serious target for Liverpool.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens over the coming weeks but if Liverpool can bring in a couple of top players such as Caicedo and Maddison in January, then they will be well placed to get themselves back into the top four by the end of the season.