Jurgen Klopp is quickly becoming an icon at Anfield. Dramatic European nights, attacking football and passionate celebrations have made the German an extremely popular figure in Merseyside.
This is a big summer for both Liverpool and Klopp. The transfer market is likely to be as competitive as ever and Liverpool, without the lure of Champions League football (unless they win the Europa League final), may struggle to compete against the financial muscle of some of their Premier League rivals.
Klopp’s ‘gegenpress’ is famous for its superb success at Dortmund, but there needs to be a specific type of player for this to work effectively. Energy, pace and tactical awareness are absolutely crucial to becoming a component of Klopp’s counter-pressing and it may make him particularly fussy in the transfer market.
The squad needs to fit Klopp’s profile, it needs to be able to cope with an intense style of play and a hectic schedule and it needs to have the quality to compete with the rest of the Premier League elite.
With this in mind, we bring you FIVE players who could fit perfectly at Liverpool…
Shaqiri’s first season in the Premier League has been like that of his club; extremely inconsistent.
Largely playing in the shadow of Marko Arnautovic, Shaqiri hasn’t had quite the impact that many expected. The Swiss star is still only 24 and, although injuries have caused problems this season, his return of three goals and six assists in the league is still very disappointing.
However, Shaqiri’s powerful running and ability to turn his full-back inside and out still make him a tempting prospect. Previously linked with half the Premier League, Liverpool are unlikely to move for a player who has been so inconsistent, but he would surely be worth the gamble.
Being a member of Diego Simeone’s military-drilled unit is one of the few jobs harder than the intense football of Jurgen Klopp.
Koke has been a mainstay of the Atleti team for several seasons now and his versatility to play in both a right-midfield role or as a central player would appeal to Klopp.
It would be quite a coup to sign any player from Atleti this summer and Koke would possibly be the best one for Klopp. Koke could pair Can in the centre of midfield or play in a more advanced role and the Spaniard is one of the few truly complete midfielders in Europe.
Varane is still struggling to become a regular in the Real Madrid defence and he has stagnated somewhat of late. Sergio Ramos and Pepe are still the first-choice pairing at Real Madrid and it might be the right time to move away for Varane to really develop.
The ban heading Mamadou Sakho’s way and general fragility of the Liverpool defence means that a central-defensive signing is almost guaranteed this summer and the pace of Varane would suit Klopp’s tendency towards a high-line.
Continuing to be an integral figure for Southampton, Wanyama is one of the most under-rated players in the Premier League.
As Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender did for Klopp at Dortmund, Wanyama could play the role of deepest midfielder to allow the full-backs to full push on. Emre Can is at his best when given the freedom to burst forward from deep and the signing of a player who could play in more of an anchoring role may allow Can to continue his splendid form of late.
Bolasie’s inconsistent end-product will mean that he is unlikely to be on Klopp’s shortlist just yet. However, the Crystal Palace star has all the ability to push for a move towards one of the top clubs.
His mesmerising feet and ability to burn past even the quickest of defenders makes Bolasie a constant threat and he would be the ideal player to stretch the game to great more space centrally.
His end product would need some work before he could nail down a regular place in the side.