It was another restless evening for me. My missus was probably sitting there watching me, wondering what was on my mind, worrying if I’m thinking about that good looking girl who liked my status on Facebook yesterday. The reality was far simpler. I am concerned about the state of our current squad, to the point of giving myself tension headaches and constipation. I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m a massive fan of Jurgen Klopp, but the recent lack of additions is a major problem. The Club’s laser focus on Virgil van Dijk (sorry Southampton. It’s ended. Honest.) and Naby Keita has many of us scratching our heads. Are they the only two players in the universe who can improve us? Really? I was hoping for us to sign some complete no marks for Klopp to polish into diamonds. I was actually looking forward to it. Remember Sami Hyypia? How satisfying was it to see how great he became? Klopp did it with a dozen players at Dortmund, turning them into some of the best players in the world. Maybe Solanke and Robertson will be this side. Salah was on everyone’s radar and I think we’re lucky to have him. His frustration at the first goal conceded against Watford was there for everyone to see. We’re vulnerable. And our players know it. Is there a fix? Possibly. Like many others, I want Klopp to channel his inner Paisley and be absolutely ruthless with his assessment of players. Can these players be trained? Can we wait that long? We’re on the brink of returning to the Champions League here. We can’t afford another humiliation like three years ago. We have a better manager, absolutely but the signs are there. We lack quality in key areas. We all know what those areas are. Is Virgil van Dijk (Sorry Southampton. We are looking at other players. Honest. Swear. Scout’s honour.) the only centre back who could improve us? I don’t think so.
Jonathan Tah, Bayer Leverkusen
German International (say no more). Tah has got all the makings of an excellent player. He’s big, quick, commanding and good with the ball. Still only 21, he could be a valuable asset for the next five to ten years. Worth a few million of anyone’s money.
Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli
Probably on most team’s radar, Koulibaly is a solid defender who enjoys a header, something this team has lacked for a while. The big man can play too. Would probably cost a pretty penny, but at 26 his best years are ahead of him. He’d also bring a bit of experience with him.
Aymeric Laporte, Athletic Bilbao
French International at the age of 23, how Laporte is still at Bilbao is beyond me (no disrespect, Bilbao.) Classy on the ball and willing to go for those headers, Laporte is a player who will easily end up at a massive European club one day. Why not Liverpool?
Any of those three would instantly improve our back line. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel a bit more relaxed every time the opposition gets a corner? Although, this isn’t the only issue with our side. The absolute key area we lack quality is in holding midfield. Now, I know some people have love affairs with Jordan Henderson and Emre Can and will take this as a slight. Well, that’s what it is. Neither can hold that midfield. There. I said it. Not one of our midfielders can protect that back four. This is why Lovren will come charging out like a lunatic on crack and why you see Matip marking opposition strikers so high up the field. There is no one there to do it. Arguably James Milner could, but why waste time getting him adjusted into yet another position in the team? You pay for quality, you get it. A £30m holding midfielder won Player of the Year last season. At that price, N’Golo Kante proved to be an absolute bargain. I fear Matic will have a similar effect at Manchester United. It can’t be stated how important that role can be. A player like that grants freedom to full backs and midfielders alike and provides that bit of insurance in front of your centre backs. Previously, I would have thrown Gary Medel as an option but sadly, the Chilean Mascherano has moved to Besiktas. But there are others.
William Carvalho, Sporting Lisbon
Maybe not as an attractive signing as he would have been in previous summers, Carvalho can still do that job and with a few Klopp hugs and arse-slaps, he’d find his form again. Currently linked with a move to West Ham, which is baffling. He should be playing at a much higher level and like Laporte, I expect it will happen in the future. Will be a coup if they land him.
Maxime Gonalons, Lyon
That guy who scored at Anfield, you might say. Others will ask ‘Who?’ Has been an ever present in Lyon’s team for years now. And a look at his stats interestingly puts him up there with Kante as one of the most efficient holding midfielders in Europe. Can also play as a centre back. Wouldn’t hurt at all.
Ignacio Camacho, Malaga
Not a glamour signing, but would be efficient like he has been in Spain. One of the better players in an underachieving Malaga side. Would probably be a bit of a risk with adapting to England but, worth a punt.
Bonus Round. It’s looking inevitable that Phillpe Coutinho will leave for Barcelona at some point. So it would be good to have a decent replacement lined up.
Isco, Real Madrid
Up until the end of last season, his place in the starting eleven wasn’t assured. Both club and player could be tempted if the offer was right. Isco has never received the respect he deserves as a Real Madrid player. Being a guaranteed starter for Liverpool could be persuasive, but he wouldn’t be cheap.
Leon Goretzka, Schalke
Back to Germany again. Was outstanding in the Confederations Cup with the so-called ‘back-up’ Germany side. Box to box, eye for goal, likes to put a foot in; all admirable qualities for a central midfielder. Very much a ‘Klopp’ player.
Renato Sanches, Bayern Munich
Yes he has been mention by Anfield Press before, but I’d like to put my own case forward. While his form has dipped since his move to Germany, Sanches still has all the potential he displayed for Portugal at Euro 2016. A dynamic, driving force in the midfield, him behind Salah, Firmino and Mane could be devastating. Similar to Carvalho, a Klopp embrace and fondle would bring the best out of him. A player I would very much like to see at Liverpool and could be acquired at a fraction of the price being quoted for the outgoing Coutinho.
At this point, a shift to secondary targets really wouldn’t be the end of the world. There is quality out there. Even if it is a few unnamed gems that Klopp brings before us. We all trust him. It’s the squad we have doubts about. The clock is ticking down. The team will play a lot of games this season. Champions League Football (The Chaaaaampiooooons!) is in our grasp. A bit more quality wouldn’t hurt. A few more bodies are very necessary. And after numerous promises of record transfers and pennies dropping from the owners, I think the fans and Klopp deserve to have their faith and loyalty rewarded. Hopefully, the cogs will start turning Thursday morning after a successful night against Hoffenheim. Come on Reds!