Jurgen Klopp began a significant rebuild in the summer of 2023, which sparked the beginning of what he branded ‘Liverpool 2.0’.
Many favourites like captain Jordan Henderson and long-term number nine Roberto Firmino left the club, with an abundance of talent added to the squad in their places.
Despite the recent heavy turnaround of playing staff, Liverpool’s rebuild is far from complete – that is if they wish to truly compete on all fronts once again.
Liverpool began their campaign well and went into the November international break just a point shy of league leaders Manchester City.
The Reds took 27 points from their opening 12 fixtures which have allowed them to close the gap to Arsenal in the Premier League betting odds. Both are offered at 5/1 to win the title at City’s expense.
However, City possess a level of depth and quality in all areas of the pitch that Liverpool simply does not have. Liverpool has weaknesses in some areas, which will make it tough for them to sustain the pace of Pep Guardiola’s team throughout the season.
One of the main player profiles that the team lacks is a first-team defensive midfielder who is capable of shielding the defence singlehandedly.
Klopp signed Wataru Endo in the summer from VFB Stuttgart, and while he looks to be a fine squad option, he is certainly not fit to be the team’s long-term first-choice number six.
Atalanta sets a price of 50 million euros for Koopmeiners. Some Premier League clubs are keeping an eye on the 25-year-old player.
Source: Gazetta dello Sport pic.twitter.com/WIdGecGTUR
— VAR Tático (@vartatico) November 14, 2023
The names that could belatedly fill the Fabinho Tavares void in the Liverpool team include Teun Koopmeiners of Atalanta – who would be a further addition to the Reds’ Dutch contingent.
Joao Palhinha may also be available if Klopp opts for a proven Premier League option. His proposed move to Bayern Munich collapsed on deadline day of the summer window and he may still be at Fulham come the summer of 2024.
Central defender to replace Joel Matip
Joel Matip will likely depart Anfield after the current season with his contract set to expire in 2024. The Cameroonian has been a solid servant under Klopp, however, his fitness issues have caused problems at times.
Ideally, the player who replaces Matip in the squad from 2024/25 onwards will be somebody capable of partnering Virgil van Dijk on the biggest of occasions.
Liverpool’s central defensive area has been prone to injury troubles in recent years and Klopp needs someone he can rely on to often be fit to line up alongside his captain. This would also free up Joe Gomez to cover the fullback areas without leaving the team short in the centre of defence.
David Hancko of Feyenoord could be an excellent option if Liverpool wish to make a habit of raiding the Eredivisie. The Slovakian could cover the left-back role as well as line up in central defence alongside van Dijk.
Nayef Aguerd’s game by numbers vs. Olympiacos:
85% pass accuracy
78 total touches
8/9 aerial duels won
7 passes into final third
0x dribbled past
Crucial at the back. pic.twitter.com/B0Qcxiwj29
— Dan Woffenden (@danwoff98) November 9, 2023
Nayef Aguerd of West Ham could provide similar cover while offering the addition of Premier League experience.
Overall Liverpool’s rebuild has certainly been a success so far, the midfield is for the first time under Klopp filled with creative technicians. The attack of course is filled with quality and a variety of profiles.
The Reds defensive setup simply needs some polishing in future transfer windows if Klopp is to lead his team to the heights of Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles again.
Liverpool is once again a high-flying attacking force, they now just need an injection of quality and security in the base of midfield and defence to aid their journey back to the peak of European football.