One question keeps popping up again and again: how can Jurgen Klopp improve this side?
The question posits a difficult dilemma as Klopp’s juggernaut – now a record-breaking team – is a carefully balanced, cohesive unit.
The spine – from goalkeeper Alisson to Roberto Firmino in attack – is imperious; full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson again top the PL assist charts alongside Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne; Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk is arguably one of the top three players in his position in world football; Sadio Mane recently won African Player of the Year; Mohammed Salah’s number of goal contributions over the last three seasons is, to put it plainly, mind-boggling.
The Reds are just two wins away from the holy grail and will almost certainly claim their crown when the season restarts. Klopp’s men are also, of course, champions of Europe, champions of the World and Super Cup winners.
So, to return to the question above, how does the German go about making his all-conquering side even better? And, is there a cogent answer? One may argue that intensive surgery could prove disruptive as every facet of the current crop is integral. But to be serial winners for a sustained period, Liverpool can’t afford to rest on their laurels – and I’m sure they won’t.
The name Timo Werner is on everybody’s lips. The RB Leipzig striker has had hand in almost 50% of the German side’s goals so far this season; scoring twenty-one and assisting seven. He’s a precocious talent, an astute penalty taker and two-footed. For a 23-years-old, he is abundantly experienced at international level and has made a significant contribution in the Champions League this term.
How would he fit in?
Assuming Klopp is adaptable – which he most certainly is – then Werner could play as the focal point in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Now, I know many would argue Firmino is immoveable – an argument with substance to it. But the Brazillian is more than capable of playing as a 10 and make his presence felt in behind a player of Werner’s ilk.
No doubt about it, Bobby would still be the fulcrum of attacks and Klopp’s main cog in the counter-press. But Werner is, to put it simply, an out and out goalscorer – Firmino is not.
The German is rapid, is always on the front foot and his goal-to-game ratio is mightly impressive. Watching his brace against Borussia Dortmund in the league and performance against Spurs in Europe certainly whets the appetite.
His ceiling is sky high and he would almost certainly progress under the tutelage of an elite manager, elite players and an elite winning mentality. Liverpool Football Club currently encompasses all three.
You see, Klopp recently signed a new long-term contract until 2024. So he is likely to oversee the transition phase between this team and the next. Klopp and his backroom staff – Sporting Director Micheal Edwards and co – will have a blueprint for continual progression on the field (and off it). Werner fits the mould. He is young, hungry and attainable. Transfermarkt values the forward at just under £70 million which is well-within Liverpool’s ballpark.
Werner is a player for the future and, concomitantly, the ‘here and now’.
- Klopp may well be forced into the market – post-pandemic – when dates become a little more certain. Xherdan Shaqiri looks likely to leave having made just 6 appearances in a season blighted by injuries. According to Melissa Reddy, the Reds would demand a fee of around £25 million for the Swiss international. He has been linked with a move to La Liga.
- Forward Divock Origi is bereft of goals, with 3 in 22 appearances, and could well be itching for a new challenge come the end of the season (whenever that is).
- Dejan Lovren also looks likely to leave. Linked with a move to Italy last summer, the Croatian’s match minutes have been severely limited this year. Ben White – currently on loan at Leeds United – has been touted as a suitable replacement. Sevilla centre-half Diago Carlos – as per Estadiodeportivo.com – has also been linked.
- There has been a lot of talk on Twitter about Ferran Torres, a fleetfooted winger at Valencia. You can find where talk originated here. It’s claimed that German giants Bayern Munich have cooled their interest in the 20-year-old and Torres is now open to a switch to the Premier League.
- Raheem Sterling, in a recent social media Q&A, declared his admiration for Liverpool when asked about the prospect of a return. It prompted various media outlets to claim Klopp is open to the idea of resigning the Englishman. The Athletic’s James Pearce hit the nail on the head with one fell swoop: “…there’s more chance of Lord Lucan riding into Anfield on Shergar than Sterling returning to Liverpool any time soon. It’s a non-starter on every possible level.’