Parachuted in at pretty much the furthest point possible from being able to bring in players, Jurgen Klopp has had to make do with the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool so far. Although the “heavy metal” football the 48-year-old has talked up in the past is yet to come, there have been signs of encouragement at Anfield so far, with the club still unbeaten under their new boss and currently on a three-game winning run following their hard-fought victory away at Rubin Kazan.
Alas, January is set to be, if not overly busy, a period in which Klopp looks to get a little more from his side, with additions sure to be on his mind. Naturally, the rumours have been plentiful since the ex-Dortmund chief’s arrival, but here are FIVE we think may be realistic…
Although suggestions of raiding Dortmund have been played down by Klopp himself, it would be no surprise to see him head back to his old stomping ground for one of his favourites. Subotic followed the now Kop chief from Mainz to the Westfalenstadion and is known to be a player well-versed in the manager’s defensive demands after helping BVB to back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.
Although Klopp’s arrival at Anfield has coincided with a better level of defensive solidity, there are still doubts surrounding Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren’s suitability, while Mamadou Sakho’s injury record since his arrival in 2013 suggests that he cannot be truly relied upon for a whole campaign. Subotic, who has been the subject of reports surrounding a move to Merseyside ever since his ex-manager’s arrival at Anfield, fits the bill, and with just one league appearance to his name since Klopp’s Dortmund exit, it makes sense ahead of January.
Reports have already claimed that the wheels are in motion between Liverpool and the Porto teenager’s representatives, hinting that Neves is a priority target. At just 18 – he became the youngest player to ever captain a side in Champions League action this term – the defensive midfielder certainly offers the sort of long-term potential Liverpool’s owners appreciate, while Klopp can expect a greater level of ‘buy in’ when it comes to emerging players meeting his demands in terms of pressing and energy.
Neves is known for his range of passing from a deep role, and with Liverpool lacking a genuine holding player beyond Lucas, he could be a wise addition.
An injury set-back in his recovery from a knee problem has prevented Sahin from making an appearance so far this season, but the playmaker has still been aligned with a move to join Klopp at Liverpool. Interestingly, Sahin has already spent a brief period at Anfield, after he joined the club on loan from Real Madrid during Brendan Rodgers’ debut season (2012/13). The spell only lasted for half of the campaign as he struggled for form, but if there’s one manager to get the best from the Turkish playmaker, it’s Klopp.
The German tactician deployed the 27-year-old in a ball-playing, central role through Dortmund’s successes, and his level of creativity could be harnessed at Anfield as neither James Milner nor Emre Can are truly adept when it comes to picking a pass.
Even though Simon Mignolet has improved greatly across 2015, there are still doubts surrounding the Belgian’s ability to command his area, lead a defensive unit and distribute the ball. Granted, he’s an excellent shot-stopper, but the sheer level of links between Klopp and new goalkeepers suggests that his time as Anfield’s No.1 may be coming to an end. Reports of a Liverpool move for Barcelona’s Ter Stegen have emerged of late, and it’s fair to say that there could be some bulk to claims.
The German appears ideally suited to Klopp’s desire to play a higher line thanks to his Manuel Neuer-esque ability to perform as a ‘sweeper-keeper’, and his role at Barca could force the German to look elsewhere. Currently the ex-Borussia Monchengladbach stopper is the Catalans’ cup goalkeeper, with Claudio Bravo chosen for the vast majority of league matches – last season he didn’t play a minute of La Liga football – which is sure to be frustrating for him given that he left the Bundesliga with a reputation as one of the best emerging stoppers on the planet. The 23-year-old could, however, expect game time at Liverpool
There haven’t been strong links with a particular candidate, but in January a left-back is reportedly on Klopp’s agenda. Although Alberto Moreno seems well-suited to the German’s bombarding attacking style, Joe Gomez’s serious knee injury has left the Spaniard with only compatriot Jose Enrique as back-up, and with the ex-Newcastle man’s motivation and fitness questionable, who knows what would happen should the current first choice pick up a suspension, or worse, an injury.
Klopp is known to favour full-backs prone to overlapping runs to supply width, and with the Bundesliga set to be a hunting ground for him, perhaps Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez or Koln’s Jonas Hector will be appealing.