Former Liverpool midfielders Dietmar Hamann and Jamie Redknapp have both urged Jurgen Klopp to sign a specialist in their role in the summer.
The Reds are on a dismal run of form in 2017, leading to scrutiny of Klopp’s inactivity in the transfer market in January.
As a result, priorities for the summer window are already the subject of speculation, with Hamann and Redknapp leading criticism of Liverpool’s midfield in this regard.
“My biggest worry with Liverpool is I think they are too weak, too soft in centre midfield, I think they need a holding midfielder,” Hamann told MOTD2 Extra.
“I watched them against Chelsea and they have two proper players in [N’Golo] Kante and [Nemanja] Matic.
“And in Liverpool I don’t see enough purpose, I don’t see enough structure and this is why they are in the position they are in at the moment.”
This is something Redknapp echoed in his column for the Mail, who proffered that Klopp needs a “midfield general” able to “control” the game.
“Liverpool look like they have completely run out of steam—and it is because they do everything at 100mph,” he wrote.
“Everything has to get from A to B as quickly as possible.
“Their priority this summer should be to sign a midfielder in the mould of Xabi Alonso or Jan Molby, who can control the tempo of the game.”
Jordan Henderson is Klopp’s current first choice in the No. 6 role, and the captain has largely impressed this season, but his performances of late have lacked the bite required.
Furthermore, Henderson still seems something of a passenger when Liverpool are struggling, unable to serve as that “midfield general” Redknapp believes is so essential to the Reds’ success.
Calls for the addition of a more defensive-minded midfielder are prevalent whenever Liverpool go through a tough time on the pitch, particularly given their frailties of late.
But both Chelsea and Hull City did prove how effective the employment of a holding midfielder can be in the last week, with Kante and Alfred N’Diaye impressive against Klopp’s side.
Klopp does have Emre Can, Lucas Leiva and Kevin Stewart as alternatives at the base of the midfield.
However, only Can has looked serviceable at the top level in this hugely important role.
At Borussia Dortmund, Klopp had the likes of Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender as options to shield his defence, while he was blessed with a plethora of tempo-dictating midfielders, so it is clear he appreciates the qualities of both roles.
For now, however, it remains confusing as to why the balanced trio of Henderson, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum was overlooked for the defeat to Hull.