Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool back in October heralded huge excitement on Merseyside, though it’s fair to say things have been mixed under the German since.
There have been some wonderful performances under his stewardship, peppered with more than a couple of dire outings against the likes of Watford.
Still, there’s been a cup final and a win over Manchester United in continental competition to shout about, even though inconsistency is a buzzword.
However, the summer transfer market affords the former Borussia Dortmund coach the chance to mould this Reds squad into one befitting of his intense style of play.
Though the initial excitement has died down somewhat, it could all come back flooding now Klopp has the opportunity to truly stamp his authority. He’s no doubt already had an impact, though is currently playing with a team put together by Brendan Rodgers and the infamous ‘transfer committee’ the club chose to use.
So, the summer transfer window is likely to be a busy few months for the Merseyside giants.
Who could come in? Well, these FIVE big names for a start.
It’s indicative of just how big a club Liverpool still are – though it may not always feel like it – that they could feasibly attract a World Cup winner playing at one of Europe’s powerhouses without the allure of Champions League football.
Mario Gotze has been tipped for an emotional reunion with Klopp, whom he enjoyed so much success under while with Dortmund a few years ago. Out in the cold at Bayern Munich, the 23-year old playmaker is looking increasingly likely to depart the Bavarian juggernauts imminently.
His arrival would certainly give the Kop a lift – They haven’t actually signed such a big player in years, given that Luis Suarez was barely a household name when he initially arrived from Ajax – and we’ve seen what damage a floating frontline consisting of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana can wreak, so just imagine how potent that would become with the introduction of Gotze.
He’s shown a great ability to act as a ‘false 9’, using his vast level of technical skill to carve open defences, while letting midfield runners break behind enemy lines.
Telling of just how poorly planned life was under Rodgers and the transfer committee, Jordon Ibe is currently the only natural winger in the first-team squad at Anfield.
Last summer’s £20m signing Lazar Markovic is expected to be reintegrated back into the fold once he returns from a loan spell in Turkey, though clearly the wings will remain a little light in terms of numbers.
A move for Real Madrid’s Lucas Vasquez, a favourite of former Reds chief Rafa Benitez oddly enough, has recently been mooted. Amid all the bigger names currently plying their trade at the Bernabeu, he has given a good account of himself on his return to Los Blancos after a loan stint at Espanyol.
He’s not a powerful wide forward in the mould of Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale (who is?), but has provided four assists as more of a silky ‘trickster’, who beats a man to get to the byline.
That’s exactly what the Reds have been missing. While their trident of attacking midfielders float in and out, having a box of tricks to stretch defences could get even more out of them.
Simon Mignolet was inexplicably awarded a new five-year deal earlier this year despite a series a shaky performances between the posts. To be fair to the Belgian, he is a decent shot-stopper, it’s just his all-round game that lets him down. In order to truly harbour any aspirations of a marked improvement on this campaign, a better ‘keeper must surely be drafted in.
Speculation over a move for Cologne stopper Timo Horn has been rampant in recent months, in what would prove to be an astute move for the Reds. Despite his tender years (for a glovesman), the 21-year old boasts an impressive ability to command his penalty area and organise his defence, areas their current No.1 lacks in.
Alvaro Morata has gone from strength to strength since leaving Real Madrid in 2014, emerging as a top quality centre-forward while with Juventus.
While the Old Lady are currently in a better position than the Reds, the amount of money available to Premier League teams has seen links with a move to Anfield arise nonetheless.
There are few better options around than a fully fit Daniel Sturridge, though the future of the England international is currently unclear and should the Juve man arrive, he would be an excellent addition to their already fluid frontline. A centre-forward in a traditional sense, the Spaniard will run the channels to create space for the plethora of technical attacking midfielders behind him.
Able to drag his team forward with his pace, he could be the ideal frontman for Klopp’s Kop plans.
Left-back has proved to be a problem area for Liverpool for a number of years, with current incumbent, Alberto Moreno, doing very little to make the role his own.
As a result, a move for Cologne and Germany defender Jonas Hector has been suggested as they bid to finally strengthen the department.
Though the 25-year old did little to cover himself in glory against England, he would provide a decent enough remedy in the berth. A powerful, physically imposing defender is exactly what the Reds have been missing, and Hector is someone that could add a sense of grit and determination to the backline.
He might even help them defend corners…