With the international break upon us it makes for a nice point to assess the Jurgen Klopp reign so far.
The last time players were away with their countries the German gaffer was being unveiled at Anfield following the exit of Brendan Rodgers, and the seven games between then and now have given fans plenty to go on in terms of where the Merseysiders are heading.
There’s been an undeniable improvement in terms of the football being played, even if results haven’t been truly inspiring. The win – Klopp’s only three-point league haul so far – at Chelsea has been the pinnacle, and showed that the Liverpool boss’ approach isn’t all about pressing and running, and indeed – as was witnessed in the latter stages of his Dortmund reign – he can set up teams to dominate possession and push forward at the right time to take advantage of opponents’ weaknesses.
Naturally, it’s becoming clear that certain players are going to be key under Klopp, and that areas are short in terms of cover and quality. Losing Mamadou Sakho is a massive blow given his ability to pass out from the back, while Jordon Ibe is the only direct winger at Klopp’s disposal and Simon Mignolet’s errors are extremely worrying.
2016 offers the chance to make signings – both in January and the summer – and writing for the Liverpool Echo club idol Jan Molby has suggested that the his old side’s boss should make use of his knowledge of the German market.
With that in mind, here are FIVE Bundesliga stars Klopp may want to think about signing…
The goalkeeping situation is sure to be at the forefront of Klopp’s mind going into January. There’s an argument to suggest that Mignolet alone has cost Liverpool at least three points already through gaffes in the draw with Norwich and the loss against Crystal Palace, so his lack of decisiveness at set-pieces is far outweighing his excellent shot-stopping ability.
German football is currently in a purple patch for producing goalkeepers, with Manuel Neuer by far the best glovesman on the planet, and beyond him there are numerous options, too. Koln’s Horn has been aligned with the Reds of late, with a £6.4m release clause mightily tempting ahead of January given that the 22-year-old has been earning rave reviews in BuLi action for a while.
However, Leno may be an even better choice, with the Bayer Leverkusen man more experienced at the top end of his division and a player that has been in and around the German international set-up of late.
Very much a ‘new kid on the block’ in German football, Sane is currently one of the hottest young talents around. Liverpool have been heavily aligned with him of late, too, suggesting that a 2016 raid is on their agenda – either in January or the summer.
Klopp is known to appreciate wingers with pace and a direct nature to their game, but he currently only possesses one option of that mould: Jordon Ibe. Sane, 19, would give the German another choice and allow him to set up effectively to counter-attack, while Sane’s own potential means that he’s likely to be worth a great deal in terms of selling on eventually, which Liverpool’s owners will appreciate.
Both would certainly be upgrades on Mignolet.
A favourite of Klopp and linked with a move to Liverpool to join the German manager before he’d even officially taken over at Anfield, it would be no surprise to see the Serbian targeted in January despite the tactician’s suggestions that he will not raid Dortmund for his ex-players.
Subotic followed the 48-year-old from Mainz to BVB and performed exceptionally well alongside Mats Hummels during the club’s Bundesliga title wins in 2011 and 2012, which shows he’s a player that knows what the charismatic coach demands from his stars.
Subotic may be able to come in and help the Reds stem the worrying level of goals going in at the wrong end and improve in terms of defending from set-pieces, which has already cost the club at least three points – a draw at home to Southampton and a loss against Crystal Palace – since Klopp’s arrival.
Subotic could also be open to a deal with the 26-year-old having only featured once in BuLi action this term under his new manager, Thomas Tuchel.
A controversial one and, perhaps, a deal that won’t be doable until at least the summer, Kagawa is a player who has long been associated with Klopp.
Sold to Manchester United, the Japan international had a difficult spell in English football, and the now Anfield manager put that down to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failing to use him correctly… which is given bulk by the fact he’s been sublime at Dortmund during both of his spells – he re-signed for BVB from the Red Devils.
Some Liverpool fans will not have forgiven Kagawa for pulling on the shirt of their bitterest of bitter rivals, but he’s ideally suited to Klopp’s game and is technically excellent – imagine an attacking midfield three of the Asian ace, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino!
With five assists already this season in league action it’s clear to see that the 26-year-old possesses the spark somewhat missing from the Merseysiders’ play – James Milner is the current creative king in red with only three.
Lucas Leiva has re-emerged as one of the lynchpins of the Liverpool XI despite being on the verge of leaving just a few months ago, reaffirming the importance of a defensive midfielder at Anfield.
The Brazilian is currently the only genuine enforcer in the centre of the park available to Klopp, and with his Dortmund side characterised by one creator and one destroyer in the anchoring roles, he’s likely to be keen to get another body in. At BVB the 48-year-old coached Sven Bender, but his twin, Lars, of Bayer Leverkusen might be more tempting.
The BayArena star is, arguably, a little more refined than his sibling in terms of approach and his physicality may make him more useful than Lucas, whose lack of pace and agility is becoming a slight issue – arguably he should have been red-carded in the win at Chelsea with the scoreline at 1-1.