Liverpool have a number of different positions in need of reinforcement this summer, but which should be Jurgen Klopp‘s priorities for the window?
But either way, reaching Europe’s elite or being forced to settle for the Europa League will prove Klopp’s squad needs strengthening.
Every week suggests a different weakness on Merseyside, with injuries and poor performances underlining a fragile squad that requires additional recruits in order to compete at the top.
So where does Klopp need to strengthen most? And what can he be content with?
Here we rank nine different positions: goalkeeper, left-back, right-back, centre-back, defensive midfielder, central midfielder, attacking midfielder, winger and centre-forward.
The 25-year-old came under criticism at the beginning of 2017 for a perceived lack of end product, but his defensive stability and remarkable fitness make him a guaranteed starter for years to come.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold making swift progress in his role as Clyne’s deputy, Klopp should have the right-back slot covered for the long term.
8. Attacking Midfield
Though Firmino typically operates up front, Lallan deeper in midfield and Coutinho out wide, if required the German has a plethora of options to take up a central berth—particularly if he opts to change formation.
7. Central Midfield
Klopp is seemingly eager to add another midfielder to his ranks ahead of 2017/18, with RB Leipzig dynamo Naby Keita on Liverpool’s radar.
Given injuries to Henderson, Grujic and Ejaria this season, however, it could be that further depth is required to compete on four fronts next term.
Adding another striker to his ranks should be on the agenda for Klopp by default, with Daniel Sturridge set to leave the club at the end of the season.
If Sturridge does depart, with Paris Saint-Germain interest, Klopp should target an additional centre-forward to supplement his current options of Firmino and Divock Origi.
Despite Klopp seeking to set the record straight in a recent press conference, declaring “we have the highest quality goalkeepers,” there remains debate about Liverpool’s man between the sticks.
Nurturing Karius and Ward as his options for the future would be wise, but Liverpool’s goalkeeping problems could be solved by the addition of a new No. 1 stopper this summer.
4. Defensive Midfield
Jordan Henderson, captain of Liverpool and Klopp’s first-choice No. 6, has failed to make 30 appearances in all competitions for two consecutive seasons.
Liverpool are short of established, top-level options at the base of the midfield, and signing a snarling, bruiser-type should be high on Klopp’s priorities.
James Milner‘s conversion into a left-back, and his subsequent consistent form, has been hugely admirable, particularly with his misgivings about taking up the role.
Fulham teenager Ryan Sessegnon is Klopp’s prime target, to initially serve as backup to Milner, but a more experience option like Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac would be more suitable.
For two stretches this season, Mane’s absence has been hugely detrimental to Liverpool’s hopes, firstly while at the Africa Cup of Nations in January and now ruled out with injury.
Without Mane, Klopp has been forced to alter his formation and deploy the likes of Lallana, Wijnaldum and Firmino out of position, and it is clear he is lacking genuine options out wide.
Replacing Mane is a difficult task, as he is a winger with world-class potential, but finding alternatives, such as Roma’s Mohamed Salah and Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, will be crucial.
While Matip’s addition was a positive one for the Reds last summer, the likes of Lovren, Lucas and Ragnar Klavan are far from the level required as a first-choice centre-back for Liverpool.