Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has urged the club to pursue an aggressive midfielder in the summer—like his former team-mate, Graeme Souness.
The Reds are once again facing a pivotal summer transfer window, having failed to capitalise on their strong position in the winter market.
Jurgen Klopp failed to add to his squad in January, and Liverpool have subsequently seen their title tilt crumble, now clinging to hopes of finishing in the top four.
And Thompson, speaking to Sky Sports, believes Klopp will need to oversee another overhaul of his squad, bringing quality and stability to a host of key areas.
“Liverpool need to spend big in the summer and replace the spine of the team,” he argued.
“Which is a top goalkeeper, a top defender, a central midfielder with some bite and a quality striker.
“I think since Klopp has been there we’ve been in profit for transfers so there should be some money in the kitty.
“Raheem Sterling is the main one who has been sold and we’ve got a lot of players off the wage bill.
“If Daniel Sturridge leaves in the summer, which looks the case if he isn’t playing, it wouldn’t be a massive sum but we’ve got to spend big on a replacement.
“We need a bit of attitude and aggression, a bit of a nark in central midfield if you want—a Graeme Souness or, dare I say it, a Roy Keane.”
Jordan Henderson is currently operating as Klopp’s No. 6, and while the captain has impressed in the engine room, he does lack the bite that Thompson alludes to.
Liverpool have long struggled in midfield, with the club failing to replace Javier Mascherano, despite the Argentine leaving Merseyside for Barcelona almost seven years ago.
Klopp’s other options in the middle of the park, namely Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can, are of a similar makeup to Henderson, more attuned to a progressive, pressing game.
And the other midfielders in the German’s sights last summer, Mahmoud Dahoud and Piotr Zielinski, are much the same.
RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita has emerged as a possible target ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, and the 22-year-old is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of adding grit to Klopp’s squad.
But it can still be argued that a more specialist defensive midfielder is required, with the likes of Idrissa Gueye, N’Golo Kante, Wilfred Ndidi and Oriol Romeu clear examples of this.