Liverpool: What now for Jurgen Klopp?
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Former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness has suggested that Michael Edwards should look to seal the signings of two world-class midfielders in the summer transfer window. Jurgen Klopp’s side have endured a torrid Premier League title defence this season, with a number of high-profile injuries derailing their hopes of successive domestic triumphs.
The German boss has often been forced into filling round holes with square pegs in order to cope with the problems caused by long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Liverpool’s constant reshuffling has led to the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho being drafted into the back four, which has undoubtedly diminished the quality of Klopp’s midfield.
The Reds have struggled to replicate the high-intensity pressing game that won Champions League and Premier League titles over the last two years, with its absence a significant factor in their disappointing campaign so far.
Summer signing Thiago Alcantara has often failed to impress when called upon, despite arriving on Merseyside to considerable fanfare.
Meanwhile, Naby Keita has been facing similar issues and Georginio Wijnaldum appears set to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract in the summer.
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Souness, who made 347 appearances for the Reds between 1978 and 1984, has urged the club to pursue not one, but two additions in the middle of the park ahead of next season.
The 67-year-old highlighted Liverpool’s failure to adapt to their injury problems, stressing that changes will be needed in order to mount a renewed Premier League title bid in Klopp’s seventh campaign at the helm.
“[Wijnaldum] has not played with the same intensity this season,” Souness wrote in his Sunday Times column.
“Henderson has been absent with injuries, Naby Keita has not shown he can step up, Milner’s another year older.
“Fabinho’s often filled in at centre back and Thiago Alcantara has come into a team that’s been huffing and puffing.
“They have been moving away from what their midfield’s been in Klopp’s time there, which was high pressing, high intensity, in-your-face football. Thiago can’t do that.
“He has the craft that the others don’t possess, but he’s not got the legs to do the hard yards.
“If Klopp continues to play that way, which he will, Liverpool need to sign a couple of high-intensity, athletic midfielders.”
Liverpool have been linked with a number of potential targets in recent weeks, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Renato Sanches of Lille.
The Reds are said to be considering a comprehensive rebuild in the summer transfer window, but Klopp dismissed the prospect of large-scale investment earlier this year, suggesting that only minor tweaks will be required.
“Rebuild? No,” he told reporters back in February. “What is a rebuild exactly? Rebuild means 10 out, 10 in? Changes to which XI?
“I know what you mean, but I don’t think it is time for a massive rebuild like how I understand it, six, seven out, running contracts but trying to get rid of them and bring in all the new faces.
“The squad of this year didn’t have the chance to play together one time really. I think it would make sense to have a look at that but on top of that, of course little readjustments will happen.”
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