Jurgen Klopp hasn’t been able to stamp his mark on the Liverpool squad just yet.
No doubt, the players are steadily adapting to his ‘gegenpressing’ philosophy but the Mersey outfit recruited sparingly during the January transfer window and until he can bring his own players in, the Reds will never be a proper Klopp side.
But come the end of the season, the German gaffer will have enjoyed the best part of nine months to analyse the talent already at his disposal and will be handed a sizeable transfer budget to improve his squad accordingly.
Logic suggests Klopp will turn to the Bundesliga as his predominant recruitment pool. The former Mainz and Dortmund boss knows the division – and most importantly, where all the transfer gems are kept – like the back of his hand.
With that in mind and the coming transfer window not as far away as it may seem, Football Fancast have taken a look at FIVE Bundesliga stars reportedly on Liverpool’s summer radar.
Liverpool may have just agreed a pre-contract with Schalke centre-half Joel Matip but their options at the heart of defence still require further improvement, with Kolo Toure moving on and Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren both failing to convince.
In that regard, it’s hard to look past Jurgen Klopp’s long-time ally Neven Subotic, who not only played under him at Borussia Dortmund but also former club Mainz – arriving at Westfalenstadion together back in summer 2008.
The Serbian international has spent much of his career in the shadow of World Cup-winning centre-back partner Mats Hummels but he’s a very talented defender in his own right, offering a sharp turn of pace, a strong reading of the game and a penchant for last-ditch tackles.
Subotic’s Dortmund career appears to be coming to an end. Injury problems have seen the 6 foot 2 defender slump behind Sokratis in the pecking order and his contract will enter its final two years come the summer window, making it an ideal time for the Black-Yellows to sell.
A number of Premier League clubs are tracking Granit Xhaka ahead of the summer transfer window, including Liverpool, amid yet another strong campaign with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Indeed, the Switzerland international has averaged the seventh-most successful passes per match of any player involved in Europe’s five leading top flights this season, alongside 2.5 tackles and 3.1 interceptions per match.
The 23-year-old has been dubbed ‘young Schweinsteiger’ by former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld and he boasts a similar style of play to the Manchester United star, as a hardworking and aggressive centre-mid who excels in monopolising possession.
He could be the ideal signing to add playmaking quality to Liverpool’s otherwise industrious midfield and Gladbach appear set to sell in the summer. Xhaka’s contract includes a £27million release clause for summer 2017, making the coming window their best chance to secure a larger fee.
Schalke starlet Leroy Sane has set the Bundesliga alight this season, bagging five goals and four assists in 15 starts to emerge as one of the most exciting prospects throughout the division.
He’s also averaged 2.8 successful dribbles per match and muscled his way into Joachim Lowe’s plans for the German national team, picking up his first cap in November, all the more impressively at just 20 years of age.
The left-footed attacker has been tipped to reach the very top level of the game and resultantly, is a rumoured target of practically every major club in European football. That includes Liverpool but they may struggle to meet Sane’s £40million valuation and fend off interest from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Having shown what he’s capable of in front of goal with a regular starting berth, Javier Hernandez could make a very sudden return to the Premier League next summer after moving to Bayer Leverkusen at the start of the season.
Indeed, since the £7.3million switch, the former Manchester United super-sub has netted 22 times across all competitions – including five strikes in the Champions League – and claimed the Bundesliga’s Player of the Year award for November.
Already well-established as a Premier League goal-scorer, boasting three campaigns of double figures in the top flight from his United tenure, English clubs have inevitably found themselves drawn to the Mexico international over the last few months.
Liverpool and Arsenal have been tipped to duke it out for the 27-year-old’s signature this summer and in comparison to ever-benched target man Christian Benteke, he’s certainly a good fit for Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing philosophy.
A lack of marquee signings has plagued Liverpool in recent years but their drought at the top end of the transfer market could be brought to a close this summer with a swoop for Bayern Munich star Mario Gotze.
The German international is perhaps best famed for scoring the winning goal at the 2014 World Cup but he’s really struggled at club level over the last few years, finding himself a peripheral figure in Pep Guardiola’s plans and now amid a lengthy injury bout.
But the 23-year-old was widely regarded as one of world football’s most exciting young talents whilst dazzling under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, where he claimed back-to-back Bundesliga titles and reached a Champions League final, and could look to revive his career by linking up with the German gaffer once again.
The attacking midfielder would certainly enhance the quality of Liverpool’s starting Xi and with his contract due to expire at the end of next season, a bid around the £25million mark this summer will probably convince the Bavarians to sell.