Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have been a strange side to watch. It’s clear to see that the German is imposing his high-tempo, pressing-orientated football at Anfield, but for every momentous win at a Chelsea or Manchester City there are shock defeats at the hands a Crystal Palace or a struggling Newcastle unit. The pieces seem to be mostly there, but Klopp appears to missing the threat to knit it all together.
In fairness to the charismatic German, he’s been unable to do any transfer business after being parachuted into the Anfield dugout after just eight games of the current season, and with January now just a few weeks away it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to expect a few additions.
However, links with names such as Robert Lewandowski, Isco and (sigh) Marco Reus are a bit far-fetched, so instead it’s likely that Klopp will have to go down a more ‘realistic’ route.
However, realism is not code for rubbish, as these FIVE options show…
Although reports from Serbia on Tuesday suggesting a deal for the 19-year-old was ‘done’ seem a little premature – well, according to the Liverpool Echo – it looks as though a swoop for the Red Star Belgrade man is very much on the cards. Grujic has already been likened to his compatriot Nemanja Matic, which, despite the Chelsea man’s form this season, bodes well, as does the mooted fee of around £4.5m.
Although it’s understood the teenager would be immediately shipped back to
Red Star Belgrade on loan for the remainder of the season should a deal go ahead, nabbing one of Europe’s most highly-rated young midfielders for a relatively low fee would be a positive manner to get Klopp’s transfer reign going.
Klopp is currently a Mamadou Sakho injury away from having to field a 34-year-old Kolo Toure in his first choice XI… No disrespect to the veteran Ivorian, but his lack of pace and agility could see the German’s game plan unravel against sides with mobile forwards, which is, perhaps, a signal that another option is needed. Sakho himself is relatively prone to injuries, Dejan Lovren, although improved of late, is still a source of concern and there is a growing feeling among Reds supporters that Martin Skrtel is a fundamental part of the club’s issues in their own third – he’s been at the scene of the crime for a few seasons now.
All of this signals that Klopp may indeed make at least one addition at the back, with Subotic seemingly a standout candidate. The Serbian followed the now Anfield chief from Mainz to Dortmund and played regularly as BVB won two Bundesliga titles and reached the 2013 Champions League Final, illustrating his strong understanding of how the German tactician sets out his teams. Links between Subotic and Liverpool kicked off even before Klopp had been officially named as Brendan Rodgers’ successor, and with the centre-back having played just 180 minutes of BuLi action under Thomas Tuchel this season, a move to Merseyside would not come as a shock.
Although this transfer rumour is in danger of mirroring the 2014 Yevhen Konoplyanka episode, Cheryshev remains a possibility heading into January. The Russia international was linked with Liverpool for much of the summer as Raheem Sterling’s future became less and less clear, but a move failed to come to fruition, leaving the pacey wide-man at Real Madrid.
He has since barely featured – and when he has it cost Los Blancos their Copa del Rey campaign as he was ineligible to play – and with the European Championships on the horizon, the 24-year-old is reportedly ready to leave in January on loan. Cheryshev impressed while at Villarreal for the 2014/15 season and would offer Klopp a direct threat from out wide, which the German currently lacks in his ranks – Jordon Ibe is his only orthodox winger.
A loan move also makes sense from a financial standpoint, while Real Madrid are likely to be open to a potential permanent deal in 2016 should Cheryshev impress.
Another Klopp favourite now, Grosskreutz has emerged as a somewhat surprise target of late. The German utility man was a key cog in the no Liverpool manager’s Dortmund team, with his dependable playing style and sheer versatility appreciated by the 48-year-old and the Westfalenstadion faithful. Grosskreutz, however, left over the summer to join Galatasaray, but the Turkish club failed to submit his registration in time, leaving the 27-year-old unable to play first-team football until at least this January.
This has prompted reports that he’s already looking to leave Istanbul after failing to settle, and it’s fair to say that Klopp could benefit from a cost-effective move for the five-cap Germany international. Able to play on either flank, in central midfield or at right-back, Grosskreutz’s versatility could be useful for Klopp in 2016 with his side still battling on all fronts.
Even though he’s publicaly backed his goalkeeper, Klopp must have concerns about Simon Mignolet. The Belgian has made more errors that have led to opposition goals in the last three seasons (eight) than any other goalie in the Premier League, with his calamitous antics on Sunday against West Brom the latest in a long line of costly gaffes. It’s clear that Liverpool’s defenders are struggling to trust the man behind them, which is surely contributing to the routine conceding of goals from set-pieces, so something has to be done sooner rather than later.
With Klopp’s Bundesliga roots and the fact that Germany seems to be producing the best stoppers on the planet right now, links have emerged with a number of candidates, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno a standout. The 23-year-old’s record of 16 clean sheets in the BuLi last season was bettered by only Manuel Neuer in the Bayern Munich goal (20), while his 97% success rate in terms of claiming the ball in his area suggests he may have more of an authoritative approach than Mignolet.