Jurgen Klopp, the Reds manager, in his first full season in charge, has sculpted the squad according to his own taste. The German inherited a squad lacking in confidence and quality and has made several changes in order to make his team competitive ahead of the 2016-17 season.
Summer Transfer Window: Money well spent?
Loris Karius was signed from Mainz to challenge Simon Mignolet for the No. 1 shirt. He will miss the start of the season through injury but his transfer has added competition for the goalkeeping spot. Alex Manninger, joined from FC Augsburg, completes the goalkeeping set and will provide a strong backup option.
Liverpool’s defence has been bolstered with the addition of Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan. With Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren providing strong competition for starting places, while Joe Gomez and Tiago Ilori looking to make an impact, Klopp has plenty of options in central defence.
Sadio Mane’s big-money move from Southampton has given Liverpool an added attacking dimension while midfield area has been strengthened with the arrivals of Marko Grujic and Georginio Wijnaldum.
There are still few areas Klopp needs to address before the end of the transfer window. Signing a full back is a top priority, especially the left-back role where Alberto Moreno has been a big disappointment in pre-season.
Nathaniel Clyne provides solidity and composure at right back but there’s little in terms of backup options in case he gets injured. James Milner can slot in as a stop-gap option but Liverpool need a long term solution here.
Klopp has been ruthless in making the cull with a host of promising young players and senior members being sold out this summer. The likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Jordon Ibe have all been sold but there still remains a handful of players on the books who are not expected to feature in Klopp’s plans and needs to be shipped out.
The likes of Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli are surplus to requirements at the club, while Lucas Leiva’s future at the club is uncertain and Lazar Markovic could be sold as well.
Liverpool’s Best Possible XI
Soccerlens’s writer Aakriti Mehrotra has written a long article on the best possible starting lineup for the Reds for the upcoming season. Here it is:
Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool 2016-17: Season expectations & predictions
Although Liverpool have done really well in terms of adding depth to the squad it remains to be seen whether it is strong enough to mount a successful top four challenge, let alone the Premiership title.
With no European games to focus on, Liverpool can take a leaf out of Leicester’s book and can shock everyone with a serious challenge, similar to the one they did in 2013-14 under Brendan Rodgers.
One cannot help but question Liverpool’s transfer strategy this summer. The Reds will play fewer games compared to other rivals which mean Klopp can use his best XI throughout the season giving his players sufficient rest to recover from fatigue.
In such a scenario, adding depth to the side wasn’t the primary requirement for this particular season, rather the focus should have been made on adding top quality stars to provide an edge over others.
Then again, it is not Klopp’s style of doing things. He doesn’t like making too many big money signings, fill his squads with ready made superstars rather he is more comfortable nurturing young talents and grooming them into world class players.
Liverpool’s primary aim should be to get into the top four in the league while a cup triumph will be a welcome bonus. Prediction: 5th.