After a gut-wrenchingly poor start to 2017 cracks are starting to show at Liverpool, the world class football we enjoyed at the start of this campaign seems much less consistent than before, replaced by a frustrating air of apathy about the squad at times.
At this point it’s no secret that changes throughout the squad have to be made but that begs the question; who should we sign?
Liverpool (and moreover, Liverpool’s fans) are no strangers to transfer rumours and/or speculation and amidst the current run of poor form there’s no shortage of players being linked with a move to Anfield.
After a run of only one win from the first seven league games of 2017 it has become clear what Liverpool’s weaknesses are and players on this shortlist would potentially be ideal remedies to the issues that burden Klopp’s current squad.
Goalkeeper: Since the departure of Pepe Reina, Liverpool have been without a top class goalkeeper, resulting in countless dropped points at the hands of his replacements. Who can be brought in to finally fill the Spaniards boots?
Alphonse Aréola – After his successful loan spell to Villareal in 2015/16, seeing the Spanish side reach the semi-finals of the Europa League (only to be knocked out by Liverpool). In his season with The Yellow Submarine, Aréola set a La Liga record, going 620 minutes without conceding a goal and ended the season with a total of 15 clean sheets.
Since rejoining PSG Aréola briefly displaced Kevin Trapp as the Parisian’s number one, though the German (Trapp) has now earned his place back in the starting lineup. At only 24-years-old Aréola looks to be a great prospect, a great shot-stopper with exceptional reflexes and a penalty expert. And at a market value of £8.5mil, the Frenchman could offer a long-term cure for Liverpool’s ever-lingering goalkeeper ailments.
Kasper Schmeichel – One of Leicester’s standout performers in their Premier League winning season of 2015/16, the son of legendary shot-stopper Peter Schmeichel could offer a straightforward resolution to Liverpool regarding their keeper issues.
Premier League-proven is often considered a taboo term when talking about players, but Schmeichel offers the prospect of signing a keeper who kept 12 clean sheets in one of the worlds most competitive leagues in 15/16 and even this season, when his side have failed to perform, has shown signs of the same form that won him the Premier League, most recently in the 3-1 over Liverpool.
Left Back: Another position that hasn’t been properly filled since the departure of another Benitez player, Fabio Aurelio. As the seasons have come and gone the left flank has remained a serious weak spot for the Reds, so much so that James Milner is currently filling the void at left back (and doing a decent job of it no less), but who should be the player to relieve Jimmy of his defensive duties?
Alex Telles – Currently plying his trade at Portuguese side Porto, Alex Telles came to Portugal from Galatasaray. The 24-year-old Brazilian left back looks to be everything Liverpool had hoped Alberto Moreno would be, quick on his feet, pacey and attacking minded, though not one to forget his defensive duties as well.
Currently reinforcing the Porto defence that has kept 14 clean sheets in the league so far this season, Telles would offer a great deal of much needed reinforcement at the back and with Porto required to recoup a total of €100mil in the coming transfer window, the Portuguese side may have their hand forced into relinquishing some of their highly rated talent.
Sead Kolašinac – Kolašinac is a name many Liverpool fans may have already gotten acquainted with, likely due to the Bosnian being linked with a moved to Merseyside throughout the January transfer window this year. Having already played alongside Joel Matip at Schalke, the 23-year-old would be an ideal candidate to come to Liverpool and re-establish an on-field connection with Matip.
As a more traditional, defensive full back, Kolašinac offers the prospect of a hard-tackling, strong defender who is more than capable of establishing superiority over opposition in the air. Perhaps most notably for potential suitors of Kolašinac’s, the Bosnian will be out of contract with Schalke at the end of June 2017, making him available on a free transfer from the end of the current season; an incredibly attractive proposition, regardless of who you ask.
Centre Back: To further cement Liverpool’s defensive security a top quality centre back is an essential purchase in the upcoming transfer window. As a team that is notorious for leaking goals a new defender should be top of the Reds shopping list, but who should be brought in to plug the leak in Liverpool’s defence?
Virgil van Dijk – Ever since joining from Celtic, van Dijk has been sensational at Southampton. In fact, it’s hard not to praise the Dutchman every time his name is brought up. A monolithic presence in the Saints defence, the 25-year-old has been imperative to his side’s success this campaign.
Offering some much needed aerial reinforcements for the Reds, as well as being a highly coveted ball-playing centre back, van Dijk would be a great boon for Liverpool should they be able to lure him away from Southampton. However, having recently assumed the role as club captain and Southampton’s unwavering reluctance to sell the centre back, Liverpool certainly face an uphill battle if they are to sign van Dijk.
Jeison Murillo – Currently plying his trade at Inter Milan, Murillo looks to be a truly fearless defender, not afraid to put himself about and put his body on the line for his team. The 24-year-old Colombian established himself immediately in Italy with Inter after spending two full seasons with Granada.
Much like van Dijk, Murillo offers some much needed aerial ability in the Liverpool back line. As a highly physical defender, Murillo would likely settle into life in the Premier League much quicker than most making a similar transition. Furthermore, the Colombian man would likely suit Klopp’s playing style as a high-energy player, able to adapt to ‘gegenpressing’ with great ease. With a current market value of around £12mil, Murillo could be a very much attainable target for the Reds.
Defensive Midfielder: It’s no secret Liverpool need some reinforcement in front of their defence, currently besides Lucas Leiva, Liverpool have no “proper” defensive midfielders. Since the departure of Javier Mascherano the Reds have been without a top quality defensive midfielder, so who is good enough to finally fill the void left by the cult-hero Argentinian?
Naby Keïta – Branded as the next N’golo Kante, Keïta has been exceptional for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig this season as they’ve looked to push the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund for the German league title. A big plus for Liverpool is the fact that Kïeta shares an agent with Sadio Mané, ostensibly making the agent of one less thing to worry about when trying to negotiate.
The Guinea international has been an integral part of RB Leipzig’s success this campaign, putting in an average of 3.2 tackles per game and 3.3 interceptions per game as well as chipping in at the other end of the field, being involved with 10 goals so far this season, thanks in no small part to his incisive passing ability. Essentially the full package in the centre of the park, Keïta looks as if he’d be capable of providing a great deal of stability in front of the Liverpool back four.
Leandro Paredes – The Reds have had some pretty great fortune when it comes to the quality of their Argentinian players. Compatriot of Maxi and Mascherano, Leandro Paredes would add a level of nastiness to the Liverpool midfield, helping to stifle the opposition attacks.
Currently playing for Roma, Paredes impressed many after his 2015/16 campaign on loan at Chievo where the 22-year-old Argentinian made 27 appearances. Less of a box-to-box midfielder than Kïeta, Paredes has a great passing ability and is a hard tackler, something the Reds sorely need. With a current market value of around £8.5mil Paredes looks to very much be an attainable target.
Rúben Neves – Another young prospect currently on the books at Porto, at only 19-years-old Neves currently captains his club. A natural leader at such a young age is a rarity in football, let alone one as talented as Neves.
A versatile player, Neves isn’t just restricted to the role of a defensive midfielder, the Portuguese youngster can adopt the role of a deep lying playmaker as well as being a formidable first line of defence. Already comparisons are being drawn between Neves and Andrea Pirlo so the 19-year-old could be well worth the investment, potentially at a cut price considering Porto’s financial fair play woes.
Winger: Between Sadio Mané and Ben Woodburn, Liverpool don’t really have any wingers to speak of. Alberto Moreno and James Milner are able to be utilised on the wing but lack the firepower required to properly bolster the Liverpool attack. A player with the attacking mentality and goal scoring prowess of Mané is a necessity for the Reds left flank but who would be capable of offering that kind of quality when going forward?
Julian Brandt – Perhaps one of Germany’s best young talents at the moment, Julian Brandt has been sensational for Bayer Leverkusen since graduating from their youth academy. At only 20-years-old Brandt has already represented Germany at every level from U15’s to the senior national side.
Brandt has a great deal of skill at his disposal, a quick player, excellent close control while dribbling and not afraid to run at defenders and take them on. The young German international is exactly the kind of playmaking winger Liverpool need on the left flank.
Gabriel Barbosa – Since joining Inter Milan in the summer of 2016, Gabriel Barbosa (aka Gabigol) has fallen by the wayside somewhat at the Italian club. The 20-year-old was highly rated at his parent club Santos, more so than fellow Santos graduate Neymar, so his lack of game time at Inter is puzzling to say the least.
In Brazil Gabigol had quite the goalscoring record, scoring 56 goals in 154 appearances, though since making a €29.5mil move to Inter the young Brazilian has only played eight times, scoring only once in Italy. Surely frustrated by his lack of game time, Liverpool could offer Gabigol some salvation, further increasing their Brazilian contingent throughout the squad.
Striker: It’s no secret Liverpool never really replaced Luis Suarez… That said it’d be hard for anyone to replace Luis Suarez. Liverpool have had no shortage of top-class forwards in the past, from Rush to Torres but of late firepower has been somewhat lacking. So who could be brought in to revitalise the Liverpool front line?
Alexandre Lacazette – For years now Lacazette has been prolific for Lyon in Ligue 1. In the past four seasons in all competitions the 25-year-old striker has scored 106 goals. This season the France international has been in exceptionally good goalscoring form, already netting 27 goals from 31 games.
Signing Lacazette will be no easy task, with interest coming from Arsenal and West Ham to name but two competitors for the Frenchman’s signature. He may set a Liverpool transfer record should we sign him, being valued by Lyon at upwards of £50mil, but it’d be well worth the money if yet another 20+ goals per season striker donned the Liverpool red again.
Kylian Mbappé – At just 17-years-old, Mbappé already looks to be a sensational talent. The young Frenchman has set Ligue 1 alight this season with Monaco. A player with bags of pace and capable of finishing under pressure the Monaco starlet looks to be a real prospect.
Having already performed at the highest level in football, putting in commanding performances in Ligue 1 and the Champions League, the £40mil rated Mbappé would be able to come into the Liverpool strike force with a great deal of experience already under his belt.