After a season that saw Liverpool reach two cup finals and finish eighth in the Premier League there’s a sense of both optimism and realism at the club.
Optimistically speaking, the Reds have shown in glimpses what they can do under Jurgen Klopp. Despite losing both the Capital One Cup and Europa League finals, their displays on the way to Wembley and Basel respectively were an insight in what may be on the horizon at Anfield.
But realistically, there’s still a lot to do to transform the side, and the German is bound to know that. Reds fans want at the very least Champions League football and the expectation is that under Klopp’s guidance this is attainable with a few changes.
Klopp will have in mind what needs to be done at the club to transform their fortunes – he looks like he’s already sorted the goalkeeper issue – and we’ve got a pretty good idea of what else needs to be done here at FootballFanCast.
Here are FIVE things Klopp needs to address…
How Klopp stamps this out is a subject that he’ll be working on for a while. Mistakes do happen, of course, but the rate they happen at Liverpool is rather alarming. There have been far too many occasions where a mistake for the Reds has gifted the opposition a goal and by cutting these out they’d see themselves shoot up the league table. Klopp’s great at instilling confidence in his players, perhaps a bit more of that will see some of the mistakes eradicated.
Liverpool won the fewest aerial challenges out of any side in the Premier League this season just gone. Defensive frailties and a number of diminutive players are the causes of this and whilst Klopp can’t get his players to wear stilts, he’ll surely be looking at a few physically imposing players to join his ranks.
The signings of Joel Matip and Marko Grujic suggest this has already crossed the German’s mind – both are 6 foot 2 inches or above.
The Reds created the second most amount of chances last season behind Spurs in the Premier League. The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana were pulling the strings, whilst James Milner turned into an assist king, but unfortunately for the Anfield outfit they only scored the sixth highest amount of goals in 2015/16.
Missing Daniel Sturridge must be noted as a big reason for this, but clearly if Liverpool were a bit more clinical they’d be flying high.
This one is fairly self-explanatory, because Liverpool have been frightening – for Reds fans – when defending set pieces. Simon Mignolet doesn’t exactly exude confidence when a ball comes into the box and this has spread to his defenders on a number of occasions.
If Klopp can shore up his defenders from corners and free-kicks, his team will be already better placed to go on and win a game than having to recover from cheap goals.
The Reds have been pretty poor at this as well. Games that should have been dead and buried have turned on their heads to be either a draw or a loss for the Anfield side. If Klopp wants to turn his team into a genuine European qualification force, or even title contenders, they need that winning mentality and the ability to see out games. It’s a trait of champions to do that and Liverpool currently do not possess it.