Liverpool may have had a good season under Jurgen Klopp, but the Reds will not be resting on their laurels this summer.
Klopp’s men finished the Premier League with 97 points – the third highest tally in the division’s history – but it was not enough to win the title as Manchester City managed to record 98.
Some opposition fans have pointed fingers at Liverpool for ‘bottling’ a seven-point lead at the start of 2019, but the biggest fact is that Man City just have a better squad with more resources.
So, it seems the only way for Liverpool to end their league title drought is to dip into the transfer market this summer and add to their already impressive squad.
We’ve had a look at five different sources to suggest five signings the club are expected to make. But who are the sources, and what did they recommend? Read on to find out!
1. What the manager wants
As is the case with most managers, Jurgen Klopp has been keeping his transfer plans relatively close to his chest. Given Liverpool’s current squad, it wouldn’t be a big surprise for the Reds to have a quiet transfer window, shying away from the big-name signings some of their rivals are expected to chase.
As Klopp said, “For sure there’s no need for that level (of spending).
“I don’t want to talk exactly what we will do, but I don’t think this is a team at the moment where we have to spend the big money or whatever.
“The best way to do it is bring together a group of players, try to develop them altogether and then stay together for a while.
“That was maybe the main problem of Liverpool for the last decade. When they had a good team after a season they went all over the world. That will not happen this year for sure.”
But while Klopp has not given the names of any transfer targets, the Liverpool boss has previously ruled out a move for Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne.
2. A view from the press box
BBC Sport’s transfer guru David Ornstein has predicted a quiet summer for Liverpool, something eluded to by Klopp himself. The Reds have a lot of loan players coming back, as well as the likes of Rhian Brewster seemingly ready to make the step up to first team football.
But Liverpool’s squad depth was ultimately a huge factor in them being pipped to the Premier League title by Man City and some signings do need to be made.
The Liverpool Echo has linked the Reds with a move for Hakim Ziyech after Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars admitted to ‘promising’ him a move away if a ‘top club’ made a bid.
The Moroccan has provided 19 goals and 16 assists as Ajax secured the Eredivisie title and captured the hearts and minds of fans across Europe with their run to the Champions League semi-finals.
Ziyech has been absolutely key to the success in Amsterdam this season but his release clause is a reported bargain fee of just £25m. You can search up, down and right across Europe but you simply won’t find more value for money than that. Ziyech has proven end product on the highest stage and could provide Liverpool with that much-needed creative spark that gives them an edge against Man City’s midfield riches next season.
3. An ex-player’s thoughts
Phil Thompson is about as Liverpool as they come, being born in Kirkby, making 346 appearances for the Reds before holding getting involved as assistant and caretaker manager. During his time at Liverpool, Thompson won three European Cups, seven league titles, one FA Cup and two UEFA Cups among other trophies.
And the now-Sky Sports pundit has backed another ex-Liverpool player to return to the club in Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian left Liverpool in January 2018 for Barcelona for £142m but has not had the best time in La Liga, struggling to make an impact in Ernesto Valverde’s team.
As a result, Coutinho has been linked with a move away from Barcelona, rumours which have grown given Antoine Griezmann’s imminent departure from Atletico Madrid.
“I would take him back in a heartbeat, but it would have to be now,” Thompson told Sky Sports. “You don’t want to leave it another 12 months, I think he still has the ability.
“He’s suffered at Barcelona. We’ve seen him playing out wide on the left, but he’s not Neymar.
“He likes to be in the middle where he can pull strings and is getting on the ball to hurt teams.
“He doesn’t do that and he’s not a left-winger and that’s where he’s playing at Barcelona; they don’t love him like Liverpool loved him.”
Thompson is also holding out hope for a clause in Coutinho’s deal which could save Liverpool money, adding: “Knowing our club, we’ve been very shrewd, maybe there’s a buy-back clause in there for maybe less than half what we sold him.”
Coutinho’s return could see Liverpool switch back to a 4-2-3-1 formation with the Brazilian occupying the no. 10 role just behind Roberto Firmino, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane either side of him.
When Klopp used that quartet in the first half of the 2017/18 season, they combined to score 38 goals in 21 games with Coutinho scoring seven and recording six assists.
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4. The neutral’s tip
Oliver Mintzlaff is a former long-distance runner and now currently CEO of RB Leipzig. The German club’s rise to the Bundesliga has been a controversial one given their financial backing, but it has seen some exciting young players emerge.
Liverpool have already benefited from Leipzig’s success in signing Naby Keita last season, and Mintzlaff has given Reds fans hopes of a big move for Werner – who is expected to leave the Roten Bullen.
“The situation is still the same. Timo Werner would rather not sign an extension,” he said. “But that could change.
“I don’t think it’s completely out of the question that he could extend his deal. We haven’t talked to Bayern Munich about Timo Werner yet.
“Maybe he doesn’t even want to go to Munich. Maybe he would rather join [Thomas] Tuchel in Paris, [Jurgen] Klopp at Liverpool or [Lucien] Favre at Dortmund.”
Werner has been a key part in securing Champions League football for RB Leipzig next season, scoring 16 goals and recording seven assists in the Bundesliga. But with his contract running out next summer, the German international could potentially be available for cheaper than his value.
5. Squawka predicts
While some teams are in need of serious work this summer, Liverpool could feasibly bring no new players in without harming their chances of competing last summer. The Reds have no real weaknesses so any signings would purely be to strengthen an already strong squad.
As such, Matthijs de Ligt would be perfect – albeit expensive – for Liverpool. The 19-year-old has been a rock in defence for Ajax, leading the club to the semi-finals of the Champions League and a 34th Eredivisie title, and their first in five years.
De Ligt could arguably go straight into Liverpool’s back line alongside Virgil van Dijk leading Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren fighting for the roles as backup. The pair would be virtually unstoppable, with enviable quality in the air as well as calmness on the ball and Van Dijk’s tackling abilities.
Elsewhere, Liverpool may be in need of a suitable backup goalkeeper for Alisson, with Simon Mignolet expected to leave this summer and Loris Karius’ Reds career in doubt. According to reports, Liverpool have been looking at Trabzonspor’s 23-year-old goalkeeper Urgurcan Cakir as a potential no. 2. And it makes sense.
With Alisson proving himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in Europe right now, Liverpool will be hard pushed to sell themselves to a big name. As such, looking towards a younger, lesser-known goalkeeper with promise, such as Cakir, the Reds could be setting themselves up for the future.
Cakir would join knowing he will only be back up, but a move to Liverpool could be appealing given the reemergence of the club to the top of European football.