After securing Champions League football for the second consecutive season — a first in almost a decade — and with the Champions League Finals looming near, it feels like something special is about to begin at Anfield.
Liverpool have a real opportunity to establish themselves among Europe’s best, and a good transfer window is key to that.
The window has already opened and closes at the start of next season, meaning rumours and stories have already started to sweep through social media.
Liverpool have a lot of business to do to continue the upward progression the club has been on since Jürgen Klopp arrived almost three years ago.
FSG have backed Klopp before and with the success that he has brought so far, you can be sure that this summer the funds will be flowing for the German.
These are the players I think Liverpool should target to continue their rise to the top.
A few months ago, buying a new number one would have been a priority, but since Loris Karius regained his spot in January, the German keeper has shown enough to warrant a full season as Liverpool’s number one. Names like Roma’s Alisson Becker and Atlético Madrid’s Jan Oblak have been linked to Liverpool, but with their values ranging from £50-£100 million, I’m sure Klopp is fine sticking with Karuis right now. He has earned that opportunity.
The keeper he replaced though, Simon Mignolet, doesn’t seem so happy being second in the pecking order so he’ll probably be looking for a way out of Merseyside this summer, leaving Liverpool looking for a new second choice. Danny Ward is a forgotten man at Anfield at the moment and his future is unclear, so Klopp will have to look elsewhere for a backup.
Jack Butland has been heavily linked with a move away from relegated Stoke City and Liverpool seem to be the favourites to secure the 25-year-old’s signature. Butland has had a terrible season and considering that Stoke will likely want more than £25 million for the shot-stoppe,r this seems like a bizarre deal for Liverpool. Surely Butland won’t be okay with being number two, because he isn’t better than Karuis.
We have seen the impact Virgil van Dijk has made at Liverpool this season, as he has turned a laughable defence into one of the league’s best. Liverpool will be looking at the Dutchman’s success and will want to partner him with some just as good, if not better, to finally create the stable defence the club has desperately needed for years now.
Joël Matip and Dejan Lovren are both good defenders, but neither is on van Dijk’s level, while Ragnar Klavan hasn’t featured much for Liverpool this season and could well be sold this summer if a new contract isn’t sorted.
Toby Alderweireld is currently in a serious contract dispute with Tottenham, which will likely see the 29-year-old head out the door this summer. Liverpool would be stupid not to try and bring in the Belgian centre-back. Yes, many of the top clubs around the world will be after his signature, but Liverpool have put themselves in a position to finally compete for big names against big clubs. Alderweireld may be 29, but since he arrived at Spurs in 2015, he has been one of the league’s best defenders. Partnering him with van Dijk would arguably give Liverpool the best centre-back duo in the league.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly has been linked to a big money move away from Naples for a few seasons now, and Liverpool were rumoured to be one of those interested last summer. With the Senegalese valued around £50 million, don’t be surprised to see Liverpool reignite their interest in the 26-year-old.
Koulibaly has been one of Europe’s finest for a few years now. He stands at a massive 6’4, is an absolute monster in the air, and will provide a similar aerial dominance to what van Dijk brought when came to Liverpool. He, just like van Dijk, is also an excellent passer. The two of them together will form a formidable partnership. Both are strong, tall, quick, great in the air and fantastic passers.
Jamaal Lascelles is also reportedly on Klopp’s radar this summer. At 24-years-old, Lascelles captains Newcastle and is a crucial part of Rafa Benitez’s team. Many fans might find this signing underwhelming compared to the likes of Alderweireld and Koulibaly, but this is probably the likelier of the three. Klopp has proven before that he has a great eye for a transfer, as fans initially balked at the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson. Lascelles would be a great partner for van Dijk.
Liverpool’s lack of squad depth this season has shown the most in midfield. It wasn’t too long ago that just three senior midfielders were fit at a crucial stage of the season. It’s definitely an area where Liverpool need more numbers.
The current crop of midfielders at the club are Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Emre Can and the incoming Naby Keïta. Can is most certainly out his summer and with Oxlade-Chamberlain said to be out until at least November, Klopp will need reinforcements as soon as possible.
Jorginho has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League and it is reported that the current Napoli player is at the top of Klopp’s wish list. Jorginho would fit perfect in Klopp’s system. Klopp prefers a “controller” as his No. 6 rather than a “destroyer,” and there aren’t many better than Jorginho. A calm, cool head, the 26-year-old dictates the play, controlling the tempo of the game while waiting for the perfect moment to play one killer ball that can beat any number of defensive lines. Against low block sides, Jorginho would be perfect at picking the right pass at the right moment to try and break through. Manchester City seem to be favourites for the Italian’s signature though.
If Klopp would like to go the more defensive route, as there isn’t a proper defensive midfielder at the club at the moment, then Jorginho’s Napoli teammate Amadou Diawara would be an excellent shout. Diawara could be on his way out of Napoli and at just 20-years-old, his talent is one that Klopp could potentially mold into a world-class player. Diawara has struggled with game time this season because of Jorginho’s form but has impressed when given the chance.
Wilfred Ndidi is another defensive option. Ndidi has had a fantastic season with Leicester and is a proper, no-nonsense midfielder, but like I previously mentioned, Klopp prefers his deep-lying midfielders to be better on the ball. If he did decide to go the other route, Ndidi would be a great piece of business. The Nigerian has the most tackles in the league this season with 121, 22 more than anyone else.
Ruben Neves would also be a great addition to the squad. The Portuguese midfielder has been excellent for Wolverhampton this season, helping them gain promotion to the Premier League. If he wanted to, Neves could get a big money move away. Neves became the youngest captain in the Champions League ever when he lead Porto in 2015. His move to the Championship was a real shock, but he has shown that he is way above that level and would add great depth to Liverpool’s midfield
He hasn’t really been linked to a move, but I think Lazio’s Sergej Savic-Milinkovic would be a game-changing signing for Liverpool. Savic-Milinkovic has scored 12 goals and assisted 3 more in Serie A this season, while arguably being his side’s best player as Lazio narrowly missed out on a Champions League place. Savic-Milinkovic is a big, strong midfielder who can do it all: defend, win aerial duels, play killer balls, shoot from distance and beat his man with silyk smooth dribbling or sheer brute strength. But Lazio are rumoured to want around £90 million for the 23-year-old, which could put many suitors off.
A more attacking option would be Norwich’s James Maddison. Maddison has had an impressive season in the Championship, scoring 14 goals and creating another 8. Maddison is a great technician with brilliant, quick feet, pinpoint passing and an eye for goal. He would play the “Lallana role” in a midfield three in Klopp’s system and, at just 21 years of age, would give Klopp an enjoyable task of developing and mounding him into a top talent.
Nabil Fekir is a name tied to Liverpool in recent weeks. The 24-year-old has been linked to a move to Anfield and if it does happen, what a signing it will be. Fekir has 18 league goals this season and 7 assists. That is a phenomenal return for a striker, let alone a midfielder. Fekir would fit right in with Liverpool’s fast-paced, high-energy style. Fekir is a game changer and would be a massive statement of intent if the move goes through.
Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah are the only two wingers at the club and because of this, I’m sure they’ve played much more than Klopp would have liked this season. The place Liverpool need to work on the most this summer in terms of squad depth is in attack.
Christian Pulisic seems to get linked with a move to Liverpool every window since Klopp arrived. With a career-high 27 league appearances this season, Pulisic is gaining valuable experience for someone of his age at a top club like Borussia Dortmund. Under Klopp’s watch, the American could fulfill the lofty heights many are predicting him to reach.
Another teenage option is Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon. The 18-year-old has absolutely torn up the Championship for two seasons now. This season, he has played a lot more on the wing, to the tune of 16 goals and 7 assists. Just like Pulisic, Sessegnon would have the perfect manager in Klopp to help his reach his potential. The sky’s the limit for Sessegnon, and hopefully those heights are reached at Anfield.
Wilfried Zaha enjoyed a great season with Crystal Palace and after a disastrous move to Manchester United in 2013, it might be finally time for the 25-year-old to have another crack at a big move. Zaha is the main reason Palace stayed up with his 9 goals and 2 assists. Without Zaha, Palace struggled. The club failed to win a since point without the Ivorian, proving how vital he is to the club. Zaha’s goals and assists may not compare to Liverpool’s current wingers, Salah and Mané, but he does share a similar style of play. Zaha competed 107 successful take ons, bettering both Salah’s 76 and Mane’s 48. Zaha’s 41 key passes also bettered Mane’s 34, but just falls short of Salah’s 48. Zaha can play anywhere across the frontline and would add valuable quality and depth to Liverpool’s frontline.
The Spanish press are insistent that Ousmane Dembélé could be on his way to Liverpool. This would be without a question an absolutely massive deal if it goes through. Dembélé is only 21 and will probably become world class one day. Barcelona would be incredibly stupid to let the winger go, but if Klopp can somehow get this hands on the Frenchman, then it’s time to get excited.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey and Bordeaux’s Malcom will be hot properties this summer. The two youngsters could be on the move and both would be very welcomed at Liverpool. Both have enjoyed stellar seasons, with Bailey amassing 12 goals and 6 assists this season while Malcom has scored 12 and made 7.
Liverpool could also go back for previous target Thomas Lemar. The French international isn’t enjoying the best of seasons, but a move away from an unsettled Monaco team would kick him right back into form.
An absolute wildcard signing would be Anthony Martial. There is no way Manchester United would sell to Liverpool, but just imagine a player of Martial’s talent under Klopp. Martial is in desperate need of a move after falling out of favour with José Mourinho and subsequently failing to make the France World Cup squad. His career is crying out for someone like Klopp to save it. It would never happen, but just imagine.
Last summer fans called for a “30 goal a season striker” because Roberto Firmino wasn’t viewed as that. A year later and he has proven all those people wrong.
But a new striker is still needed for different reasons. Klopp has never been able to rest Firmino, as he doen’t have a suitable replacement. Danny Ings is decent but isn’t good enough, while Dominic Solanke hasn’t impressed too much this season, though he is still young and had a good showing in the final Premier League of the season. A loan move next season will probably be best for the youngster, leaving Liverpool needing a backup.
No strikers have been linked with Liverpool so far this window, so there isn’t much to work with here. The previously mentioned Zaha has played the majority of his games this season up front and would be an excellent addition. Martial can also play anywhere in the front three.
A less fashionable choice is Jamie Vardy. Vardy is 31 so that might put some off, but he would be a perfect fit in Klopp’s team. Just like Firmino, he would be the first line of defence. He has the energy and work rate to match the Brazilian and has the blistering pace to add to Liverpool’s already deadly counter-attacks. Vardy has very quietly had an amazing season with 20 league goals to his name.
Timo Werner would also fit perfectly in Klopp’s system. But this signing would probably require a change in formation as the German and Firmino would be too good to keep swapping around. Imagine those two up front with Mané and Salah out wide. RB Leipzig have said that Keïta will be the only player leaving the club this summer, so this could prove to be a difficult signing to pull off. And if a formation change is made, than another striker will probably have to come in along with Werner.