Despite Liverpool being among the Premier League’s most active teams in the transfer market this summer – which is only officially a matter of days old – it seems as though Jurgen Klopp’s work at Anfield is far from done.
Goalkeeping concerns have been somewhat addressed with the addition of Loris Karius, Joel Matip has come in to steady the ship defensively and Sadio Mane has been signed for an eye-watering £30m+ as the latest in a long line of recruits from Southampton, but the German seems to be not yet content with his squad.
In truth, it was always likely to be an active few months given that this is indeed the ex-Dortmund boss’ first off-season on Merseyside, making it only natural that he’s looking to mould his senior squad.
As mentioned above, multiple areas have been addressed, but it seems, judging by the links with Piotr Zielinski and Mahmoud Dahoud that Klopp’s major targets will be central midfielders. However, the pair may be unattainable this summer.
But, as the old adage goes, there are plenty more fish in the seas, and some of these could be worth catching to solve the tactician’s midfield concerns…
As the youngest player to ever captain a team in Champions League history – a feat achieved at 18 early last season as Porto took on Maccabi Tel Aviv – Neves has been talked about for a while as one of the finest emerging deep-lying playmakers. The now 19-year-old did, however, miss out on a spot in Portugal’s EURO 2016 squad, but that should be no slight on his qualities as a player.
Linked with Liverpool prior to Klopp’s arrival, reports have re-surfaced of late suggesting that he is once again a wanted man on Merseyside, and it’s fair to say that his composed brand of football would offer a different option to the physicality of Emre Can and the energy of Jordan Henderson.
Relegated with Newcastle last season and known for being a little enigmatic, Sissoko may not be an overly logical choice. However, the Frenchman must have something about him, after all he’s part of the French set-up preparing for a European Championship semi-final as we speak, and has been consistently linked with moves to big sides across the continent for some time.
If Sissoko’s physicality and drive can be harnessed, and he can be kept suitably motivated, the 26-year-old could be a fine addition. Klopp has a habit of polishing rough diamonds, and with Sissoko able to play in basically any midfield position, he could be a handy option when the fixtures pile up around Christmas.
If stats are being used heavily in transfer proceedings at Anfield, Junuzovic is a fine option. The Austria international was among the top ten in terms of assists in any of Europe’s top five leagues last season with ten from a deep-lying role for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga, a return that puts him in the same conversation as the likes of Dimitri Payet, despite playing for a side that finished in the lower reaches of their division. Junozovic is also a set-piece specialist, too, which will help Liverpool given they’ve lost both Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez in recent memory.
Why invest when you already have talent available? It’s a strange situation for Liverpool, with Allen impressive at the EUROs with Wales, showing off his metronomic passing skills. The ‘Welsh Xavi’ has, however, entered the last year of his contract, and at the age of 26, he has every right to be calling for regular first-team action, something his small stature seems to have held him back from under Klopp, who favours a powerful approach from his players.
If it is indeed physicality the German is after, he may need to look no further than Grujic. Signed way back in January, but loaned back to Red Star Belgrade immediately, the Serbia international stands at 6ft. 3” and has already been likened to Nemanja Matic and Steven Gerrard due to his mixture of explosiveness and sheer presence. Okay, the transition from football in his homeland to the Premier league may not be a smooth one, but having shown the faith to sign him, surely Liverpool will have to hand the 20-year-old some game time.
Finally, a player that has been populating rumour round-ups for quite some time. The Portugal international has been a key cog in the Sporting CP midfield for little while now, with the 24-year-old’s rangy playing style drawing comparisons with none other than Arsenal legend, Partick Vieira. In truth, it’s a little unfair to don Carvalho with that label, but the Angola-born ace has bags of power, pace and physicality, which has drawn natural talk of him being well-suited to the Premier League.