It is easy to rest on your laurels in the Premier League, I’ve never seen it pay off to do so.
When Klopp first came to Liverpool we expected drastic changes and we got them, but not so much early on with personnel. Klopp gave the players in the squad a chance to impress him and improve and for the most part, they did exactly that.
I would say in this team now we are in a fantastic position to win the league, but I still believe looking at the depth of the Manchester City team we are against and the quality of the opposition in this league in general that we still need more depth and to improve in certain areas.
With this in mind I have identified a few players I would look at. Systems make players, so with that in mind I’ve tried to make a list of players with the same characteristics of those they will be backing up but I’ve also tried to do so on somewhat of a budge, which is to say no proven superstar performers.
Full back isn’t an issue in the first 11 but it is definitely one when we talk about depth. Yes we have Milner who can play pretty much anywhere and that’s a luxury that I think many of our fans take for granted – much as Dortmund fans did until they realised what they had with Kevin Grosskreutz – but that doesn’t mean he should have to. There is a lot to like about Milner, his professionalism, his experience and his heart but despite all of that, he’s a squad player and one I believe who will move on next season he’s a decent short term answer to squad depth, that’s it.
When identifying the characteristics needed to rotate with Robertson and TAA, we are looking for, an engine, technical ability, solidity and the ability to get forward and not just support the attack but contribute to it.
Look no further than the wonderfully named Kenny Lala. The only issue is, he plays on the right of a midfield 5, so he’s more of a wing back but from what I’ve seen I don’t think that will be a big problem.
I watched the 27 year old Frenchman at home to Patrick Vieira’s Nice over Christmas and he ran the game, they couldn’t get near him and they couldn’t get past him. He finished with 2 assists, if memory serves one was a defence splitting pass from his own half, the second he whipped in a corner (something none of our players seem to be able to do with any great consistency). If you ask me, he won’t be at Strasbourg for long.
There are two left backs I rated previously, one called Haps who ended up at Feyenoord and the other called Jonny who made his way to Wolves. I would keep an eye on both these underrated players and would say both could have done a job for us, especially given their competition for the squad is Moreno.
Realistically, the only other LB’s I can think of with the abilities are not available, perhaps Halstenberg of RB Leipzig but I doubt they would be willing to deal him just yet and I wouldn’t imagine we are top of their Christmas card list and of course Hector who heart warmingly decided to stay with FC Koln after they were relegated because the club had given him so much and he wanted to repay them. Great story.
I regards to centre-backs, it would be dependant on showing Lovren the door first which I personally would. Don’t get me wrong, Lovren is a very good centre half, but he also isn’t first choice and has a lot to say for himself.
I believe that in some part he lit even more of a fire under Man City with his words about how Liverpool could go unbeaten, even if he didn’t, it’s not a good look. Each time Lovren tells us how good he is, he invariably goes on to have a terrible game. I think it might be better for all concerned if he were to move on for a decent fee but at the same time, as a fourth centre back, that kind of quality is hard to replace.
With this in mind, I think we’d be better off looking at a holding midfielder to backup Fabinho should he need to come in at centre-back again.
Ruben Neves was my choice previously (I should be head scout at Wolves…) and that’s not for his goals, which I wouldn’t have believed he had in him from what I saw at Porto but for his defensive intelligence and passing.
Fabinho is a special player, so it’s not easy to think of a player you could get for a reasonable price to back him up but my suggestion is a young 22 year old Swiss player called Denis Zakaria. Borussia Monchengladbach (or that German team as they are also known thanks to their hilarious social media team) are my German team and have been since I found out they gave a cheque to Liverpool after the Hillsborough disaster, a wonderful gesture.
The two clubs visit each other once a year to celebrate the friendship between the two sets of fans. Anyway he’s raw but we can more than deal with that given the depth we have but he’s got frightening potential, so much so as I’d go as far as to say he’s one of the best kept secrets not just in the Bundesliga but maybe Europe. Maybe Shaqiri can have a word?
He wouldn’t be cheap but he’s one of the few players I can think of that would improve our midfield, he’d be an excellent replacement for Milner when the time comes and he’s just a flat out beast and the closest player I can think of to Fabinho in that he’s tall, built like the proverbial brick shithouse, composed on the ball and off it, strong in the tackle but has a grace you don’t expect from defensive minded players. Special, trust me on this one.
There are too many different ways to go for backup strikers and personally I think we need two forwards in the not so distant future but I’ll put something else together for that as its own piece.
Remember, I’m not a trained scout or anything (yet) and these are just my opinions on where we might look at taking the squad, feel free to leave your own.