Following the demolition of Manchester City, suggestions that Liverpool could actually win the Premier League title had been tentatively mooted. Granted, not to any meaningful extent and by no means were Reds fans getting ahead of themselves, but Jurgen Klopp’s immediate impact seemed to have us all quietly wondering just how far they could go.
Fast forward a few games, however, and it’s clear the 46-year old does indeed have far more of a project on his hands than the City result would suggest. The Merseyside giants are truly capable of beating anyone of their day, though are equally prone to the odd slip here and there. Losses to Crystal Palace and Newcastle and a draw at hime with West Brom are the only blemishes on Klopp’s otherwise impressive record since being installed at the helm.
In fact, considering he’s introduced a new philosophy into the team without buying any players, it’s all been pretty remarkable. At their best, the Reds can hound the opposition into mistakes and attack with a fluidity to be marvelled at. At his best, Daniel Sturridge is arguably in the top three strikers in the league. However, we don’t see ether often enough.
When Liverpool are not destroying top teams in the manner they have done at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge this term, they have looked desperately ineffective. Their loss at St. James’ Park highlighted just how precarious their balance between top four hopefuls, and Brendan Rodger-esque hopelessness really is.
Perhaps January affords Klopp the chance to truly install his ideas around the club. Clearly an excellent man-manager and unlikely to do too much business next month, only a few tweaks here and there are needed.
All things considered, here are THREE in and THREE out at Liverpool this January.
A central defender of decent stature is needed. Dejan Lovren has improved somewhat, but that really isn’t saying a lot. So, it’s no surprise to see Klopp linked with making a swoop for a former Dortmund favourite of his.
Neven Subotic has reportedly refused to rule out leaving the German giants this January, amid links with a move to Anfield. The 26-year old Serbian star was a stalwart as the pair enjoyed success in Dortmund, having followed his manager from Mainz. Aside from Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the stoic defender is the best option Klopp could nab from his former charges.
Crucially, he could also be the most realistic.
The ‘Welsh Xavi’ has done little to live up to the moniker infamously placed on his head by former boss David Brent Brendan Rodgers. It’s not worked out for him at all since leaving Swansea, where many thought of him as an excellent and intricate passer, to help break teams down.
Instead, the 25-year old seemingly solely distributes sideways in a red shirt. Monotonous, methodical, mind-numbing passing for the sake of passing… perhaps he should join Man United!
We jest, but the Welshman has been linked with table toppers Leicester as they scout reinforcements to aid to their title challenge.
The engine room is already well stocked at Anfield, as the likes of James Milner, Emre Can, Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson battle it out for a place in the first-team.
Leicester. Joe Allen. Title challenge.
It’s just crazy enough to work.
The Liverpool squad at the moment is somewhat unbalanced. A plethora of ‘No.10s’ are on the payroll, but there’s a distinct dearth in the wide options available. With Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling having departed, only Jordon Ibe is left as recognised winger.
This appears to be one of the major positions that needs work. Real Madrid wide-man Denis Cheryshev has been linked with a loan switch to Anfield as he bids to find first-team football ahead of Euro 2016. A solution?
Signing the 24-year-old on loan would be very wise indeed. The Russian is unlikely to ever break the first-team in the Spanish capital, and given a run of games could become an effective option for Liverpool in wide areas.
Moreno has improved an awful lot since last season, though the speedy Spaniard has some way to go before he truly convinces. In fact, the 23-year-old is only really in the team due to the fact Joe Gomez fell foul of a serious injury.
Quite surprising then to see the former Sevilla man linked with a club like Real Madrid. Reports suggest former Reds chief Rafa Benitez is seriously considering making a swoop for the left-back in January to cover for Marcelo at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Now, selling the player may seem risky due to the fact he is probably the best left-back available to Klopp right now. However, should Los Blancos make a serious offer for Moreno, from which Liverpool stand to make a huge profit, it should be considered.
He’s a good player and though he is indeed young, it’s unlikely he’ll become a great one. Sell while his stock is high, we’ve seen him at his worst…
It’s unlikely, but Chelsea custodian Asmir Begovic has been touted as a shock target for Liverpool. The Bosnian has returned to back-up duty following Thibaut Courtois’ recovery from injury, despite all his good work in the Belgian’s absence.
Simon Mignolet has never once truly convinced he is of the required standard to mind the net at Anfield, and despite Klopp’s public backing of the Belgian there is plenty of room for improvement between the sticks.
While it’s unlikely that the Blues would afford the Reds a free run at Begovic, perhaps the thought of being the undisputed No.1 at a big club could prove tempting for the 28-year-old.
Okay, it’s not likely that the club will sell two left-backs this winter, but Jose Enrique has seemingly been on the verge of an Anfield exit for a number of years now. There have been suggestions he will at least be given a chance to prove himself, but it’s hard to see him turning his Merseyside career around.
Linked with a move to West Brom in the summer, the former Newcastle ace could soon be on his way.