Liverpool had a terrible end to the 2017-18 season when they lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid. Nevertheless, the Reds won countless hearts with their stellar performances on their road to Kiev.
The message from Jurgen Klopp was loud and clear to all. Liverpool are not to be taken for granted anymore. The year which they had been waiting for might just be here.
The pundits and fans know that one more summer of wise spending will turn them into genuine title contenders.
Having already secured the signatures of Naby Keita, Fabinho and blowing up the Nabil Fekir deal, Liverpool have been busy in the market. However, there are some key areas on the pitch still asking to be fixed as soon as possible.
That said, here are the five positions the manager needs to be worried about before the start of 2018-19 season.
The Anfield giant’s troubles between the sticks were more than evident last season. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that their goalkeeper had cost them at least 7-10 points in the league. Not to mention a sixth Champions League title.
The distribution abilities, punching, positioning and all the other things needed in a quality goalkeeper were nowhere to be seen at Anfield.
Klopp had long been targeting Alisson Becker, the Roma number number one. But the deal is unlikely to happen because of his giant price tag of £80 million.
Liverpool have also been linked with the likes of Nick Pope, Jasper Cillessen and Jan Oblak.
Anyone of these aforementioned names are far better than Karius or Mignolet on any given day. The Reds would be signing a goalkeeper sooner than later in this window.
They should make their move quick enough before these players put pen to paper somewhere else.
#3 Left wing
Sadio Mane donned the left flank for Liverpool in some fashion for the entirety of the 2017-18 campaign. The former Southampton winger bagged 20 goals and nine assists in all competitions.
However, much was said about the player’s fitness at the start of the campaign. He was constantly sidelined with injuries in his first season at the club.
Mane’s astonishing pace appeared to be making it difficult for him to sustain the demands of such a tightly packed fixture schedule.
As a contingency measure, Klopp must sign a young left-winger who can be used frequently to rest the 26 year old. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might be a temporary answer to the problem but the player is more productive in midfield.
If Liverpool are to fight on all fronts, they need a large squad to enable them rotate their first eleven often.
#2 Right wing
Salah was the centre of attention deservedly for his sublime performances throughout the season. The 25 year-old led his team’s attack with substance and was the best player in Europe aside Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, Liverpool’s reliance on him was a great deal of concern. They were denied their firepower when the winger left the pitch in Kiev, injured unfortunately.
Salah had also been playing the domestic fixtures sandwiched between the crucial knock-out ties of the Champions League. In total, he made 52 appearances which is quite a big number given the fact that Klopp’s men weren’t in contention for the domestic cups.
The Reds are in dire need of depth in attack. The likes of Dominic Solanke, Danny Ings or Adam Lallana aren’t the solution to their problem.
The club has been linked with Xherdan Shaqiri who can be deployed in the same position. He has the experience of playing in England and would be a safe bet to place at £12 million.
#1 Center back
Liverpool were the only team in the league who despite leading 4-0 at half time had the potential to blow up their lead and be lucky enough to salvage a point in the end.
Courtesy of their shambolic defense, they were leaking goals at their opposition’s will. The urgency to add a reliable option saw them shell out £75 million for Virjil Van Dijk in January.
The Dutchman added much steel to the back-line and improved Dejan Lovren’s performances substantially. However the Croatian was still committing errors occasionally, which proved costly for the team.
That said, Klopp should be looking to add at least one center-back to his squad who is capable of making it into the first eleven week in and out.
Some options for him are in the form of Ben Gibson, Ben Mee, Stefan de Vrij or Jonathan Tah. If Klopp is willing to spend big on his defense again, he might look at the likes of Toby Alderweireld or Kalidou Koulibaly who are top class names at the moment.