Liverpool have been pretty close to perfect this season, but if there is one area that will have Jurgen Klopp worried it will be the lack of strength in depth in his side.
This has been highlighted desperately by the Reds’ lack of defensive options for their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, with Fabinho or Jordan Henderson likely to be called upon to partner Joel Matip in the heart of the backline.
Clearly, Liverpool need to invest over the summer if they are to avoid this kind of crisis happening again, but Klopp will no doubt be wary of spending big to land another goliath like Virgil van Dijk when he has the promising Joe Gomez waiting in the wings.
The most obvious solution would be to bring another bright young thing to bolster the ranks, and there would be no candidate better suited than Sampdoria defender Joachim Andersen.
According to Calcio Mercato, Tottenham have opened talks over a potential £22 million deal, but the Reds must move to hijack any transfer.
The 22-year-old Danish youth international has been in remarkable form for the Serie A so far this season, and looks to bell on track to becoming one of the most desirable young talents in European football.
If the report is to be believed then £22 million for a player of his potential is an absolute steal, and would provide a healthy way of providing cover and competition without stifling an emerging talent like Gomez.
Dejan Lovren has travelled to Croatia to visit a strength and conditioning coach in an effort to be ready for Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich next Tuesday, according to the Mirror.
The centre-back is not expected to be fit in time for the match, with Jurgen Klopp likely to field either Fabinho or Jordan Henderson in the heart of defence, but it is understood that the World Cup finalist has stepped up his efforts to be available.
Instead of travelling to Marbella with the rest of the Reds’ squad this week, Lovren made the journey to his home country for specific training on the hamstring issue that has kept him out since January.
Jurgen Klopp has been fairly pessimistic about Lovren’s chances of making Tuesday night’s game, but the Croatian doesn’t appear to have gotten the memo. Obviously, if he is fully fit and able to feature then that would be a massive boost for Liverpool, who are faced with the prospect of starting a worryingly makeshift backline without him, but at this stage, given how uncertain his manager seemed over his availability, there’s no guarantee that he will play a part even if his strength and conditioning training is a success. Klopp will not want to risk potentially damaging his player’s hamstring even further by allowing him play if he is anything less than 100% ready, even if that means starting a side that looks weaker for it. Regardless of Tuesday’s events, however, Lovren’s injury, and those of his teammates, will have acted as a real eye opener for the manager, who will now be looking at his squad and realising that he needs reinforcements desperately.
Jurgen Klopp is a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but even he would admit that Liverpool’s defensive issues going into next week’s Champions League clash wth Bayern Munich are a cause for concern.
With Virgil van Dijk suspended and Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren injured, the German’s only available senior centre-half is Joel Matip.
That leaves the Reds with a dilemma that essentially boils down to a simple question – do they play Jordan Henderson or Fabinho in the heart of defence?
Neither is an ideal option on paper, but for the sake of the Reds’ Champions League hopes, Klopp must put his trust in the Brazilian over his experienced English campaigner.
Fabinho took a while to grow into his role at the club, and for a long time it looked as if he could be an expensive mistake, but he has really blossomed in recent weeks, and has even played in defence against Wolves and Brighton.
Given the choice, Klopp would obviously much prefer to be deploying the 25-year-old in his usual position in front of the back four, but given the necessity of the situation, Fabinho could thrive in a more responsible capacity.
His reading of the game is exemplary and he is not shy in the challenge.
It’s unfortunate that his baptism of fire will likely come against one of the bets attacking lineups in Europe, but needs must, and there is no reason why, surrounded by experienced teammates, he cannot step up to the plate and become an unlikely European hero.
Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt has been urged to join Liverpool so that his central defensive partnership with international teammate Virgil van Dijk can blossom.
The proclamation came from former Dutch international Rene van der Gijp, who has been eager to herald the positive impact a move to Anfield could have on Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands squad.
Speaking to Voetbalprimeur about the future of the 13 cap 19-year-old, he said: “It would be great for Dutch football if those two defenders can play alongside each other for five to six years,
“Then you are getting the best centre-back pairing in Europe.”
What a signing this would be for Liverpool, but the chances of de Ligt choosing a move to Anfield purely on the basis of it improving the national squad are pretty slim. It would be a phenomenal piece of business that would arguably give the Reds the best centre back pairing in Europe right now, but it would also cost a whole lot of money, and while Jurgen Klopp is likely to look for a new defender this summer, having already spent £75 million just over a year ago on van Dijk, it seems unlikely that he will move for a player who will likely command an even more exorbitant amount of money. Klopp seems fairly happy with his current partnership of van Dijk and Joe Gomez, when the latter is fit, and even though he will likely look to strengthen in preseason, it would be no surprise if he sought out a player of a slightly lower profile.
Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are both likely to leave Liverpool in the summer, according to Liverpool Echo journalist James Pearce.
Both strikers have struggled for first team opportunities, and respected journalist Pearce believes the duo could be on their way out of Anfield.
Speaking during a Q&A with the Echo, when asked about the possibility of signing German international forward Timo Werner, he said: “Liverpool will certainly have to bolster their attacking options in the summer.
“Sturridge will leave when his contract expires and I wouldn’t be surprised if Origi also moves on in search of more regular action.
“Klopp has big hopes for Rhian Brewster but you can’t have a teenage rookie as the only real back-up for Firmino.”
In truth, no real surprises here. Neither Sturridge or Origi are getting anywhere near the amount of minutes they will want or feel they deserve, and both are still of a age where they will feel they have a lot to give – especially Origi, who has seen his development stunted by a lack of opportunity. Jurgen Klopp probably wouldn’t stand in the way of any kind of exit should a respectable offer come in for the Belgian, and Sturridge is very quickly approaching the end of his contract as it is. The only thing that could prevent a departure would be the concern of finding a suitable replacement. Rhian Brewster will no doubt be in contention, but a more senior option would likely be preferred, and finding one who is willing to play second fiddle to Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, and Roberto Firmino is likely to be a tall task indeed.
Most Liverpool fans would rather lose their right arm than lose Mo Salah.
The Egyptian King has been far and away one of the greatest signings in the club’s history, and the thought of allowing him to leave is almost unbearable.
That being said, according to the front page of today’s addition of Tuttosport, Italian giants Juventus are readying a bid for the winger that would involve £44 million and Argentine livewire Paulo Dybala arriving at Anfield.
On the face of it, the answer should be a definite no, but upon closer inspection, it may not be the worst deal in the world.
Many fans would have classified Phillipe Coutinho as irreplaceable before the Brazilian completed his move to Barcelona last January, but the Reds have managed, and even prospered without him.
That’s not to say that selling your best players to European superpowers is always a prudent business plan, but it does show that a team is more than just one man, and that there can be life after a massive departure.
On top of that, Paulo Dybala is a special player. He has struggled a little since Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juve from Real Madrid, but his talent his undeniable, and in many ways he would be the perfect replacement for the tricky African.
Ultimately, this deal won’t go through unless Salah agitates for it in a manner that is just not in his nature, but it would be worth remembering from a Liverpool perspective that their side is good enough to suffer losing their talisman, should that day ever come.
Liverpool are likely to move for a new defender in the summer, according to Liverpool Echo journalist James Pearce.
The respected journalist has pointed to the ongoing injury issues of senior figures Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren as the main justifications for his reasoning, and is seemingly certain of the Reds’ intention to buy a replacement.
Speaking during a Q&A with the Echo, Pearce said: “Yes, I think a centre-back will be on Klopp’s shopping list this summer. I can’t see how he can possibly go into next season with his current personnel.
“The reality is that Lovren and Matip miss far too much football. Liverpool have played 26 league games this season and Lovren has only featured in nine of them.
“I really like the Van Dijk-Gomez combination but I do believe that if Liverpool are serious about competing on all fronts next season they need another frontline centre-back to provide more competition.”
Pearce is surely right on this one. Recent injury issues have shown that Jurgen Klopp is desperately in need of some reinforcement in defence, and have also proven that the players he have now cannot be relied upon to provide decent cover. When all is well, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez look as if they could have the makings of a formidable centre-half partnership on their hands, but beyond that, the Reds look stretched. Even World Cup finalist Dejan Lovren appears to be a shaky and injury prone option, and that is worrying. The key to fighting a campaign on multiple fronts is often strength in depth, and compared to some of their peers in the European and domestic game, Liverpool are really lacking. You would expect that to change next season, and honestly, what sort of player wouldn’t want to get onboard with the project that Jurgen Klopp is building at Anfield?
Trent Alexander-Arnold has praised teammates Rhian Brewster and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for their dedication to returning from injury, suggesting that they epitomise the spirit of the Liverpool squad.
The duo have both suffered long term absences, with Brewster out since last January with an ankle injury and Oxlade-Chamberlain sidelined since April with a ruptured cruciate ligament.
Speaking about the two during the Reds’ warm weather training break in Marbella, Alexander-Arnold said: “The pair of them are a credit to themselves.
“They epitomise the spirit around the team and the club, that it’s going to be very difficult to break that spirit and that they’ll bounce back whenever there are setbacks.
“It’s something that lifts the spirits massively.”
There’s a real togetherness to this Liverpool squad, and that shines through from Alexander-Arnold’s comments. Injuries have been cruel to both Brewster and Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it must really help to know their teammates are rooting for them and that they have the full support of everybody at the club. Both players can be great additions to Jurgen Klopp’s squad, with the Ox well into his prime and Brewster presenting a fantastic option for the future. The mental strength it takes to come back from absences as lengthy as these two is hard to imagine, and it will take time to readjust to the rigours of a weekly schedule, but half the battle must be knowing that you are valued and wanted by the club, and that you have been missed while you were away. The fact that both players have traveled to Marbella is a massive plus, and the hope will be that they are on the home straight of there recoveries.
Everybody loves a classic strike partnership. Whether it’s Rush and Dalglish, Owen and Fowler, or in more recent times Suarez and Sturridge, Liverpool have had some fine pairings through the years, and their latest dynamic duo could prove to be the latest in a long line.
The Reds’ youngsters fired their way to the quarter final of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night with a 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic, as reported by the Liverpool Echo, and as is becoming the norm this season, it was goal machines Bobby Duncan and Paul Glatzel.
The duo now have 43 goals between them this campaign, with Glatzel marginally ahead of his partner in crime having netted 22 of them.
Both players are 17, and while they may still be a long way off breaking into the Reds’ first team, Jurgen Klopp must be looking at their remarkable performances this season and clapping his hands.
Having one lethal goal machine in the youth academy with the potential to be a first team regular is hard enough to come by, but having two, especially two who work so excellently together, is a very exciting prospect.
Klopp is unafraid to give youth a chance, and with doubts persistently cast over the futures of covering forwards Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, there is no reason why, given a year or two, one or both of the young hitmen couldn’t be integral parts of his squad.
Liverpool fans love to see their own doing well, and if that benefits the team as well, what a bonus it would be.
He said: “Salah’s one of the best players in the world.
“He’s fast, but I’ve played against other fast players such as Mbappe. I know from experience that it is crucial that I use my strengths.”
Despite his best efforts to convince himself otherwise, if Mo Salah is in fine form and decides to turn on the style, David Alaba will have very little say on the matter. The Swiss defender is, for his own part, a top quality defender, but it is testament to the Egyptian King that he is genuinely capable of takin him apart. Salah maybe hasn’t hit the irresistible heights that he did last season, but he starting to approach that sweet spot again, and regardless of anything else, his stats speak for themselves. There are few attackers as lethal or as feared as the tricky African, and when he is in full flow, all you can do is stand back and admire him. Whether he is able to reach those levels against Bayern next week remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Alaba will be helpless if he does.