Last night, in a result that didn’t shock many, Arsenal defeated the Champions of England 2-1 at the Emirates. Jurgen Klopp’s men have seemingly taken their foot off the gas since winning the league, failing to win three of their last five league games. Before last night’s game, Liverpool were on the verge of eclipsing Manchester City’s all-time PL points record, that is no longer possible.
Rival fans have been harsh in their assessment of this failure. Stating that Liverpool will go down in history in the same bracket as Leicester and Blackburn due to no points record, no double/treble and now no unbeaten season.
Regardless, the Premier League champions have their eyes set on next season, where they’ll look to dominate even more. Other teams will be back stronger come September, so Liverpool must also strengthen to stay on top.
Here are three areas Liverpool must strengthen in the summer.
#3 Creative Midfielder
It’s fair to say that Liverpool’s starting XI is pretty much set in stone. Jurgen Klopp has found himself a formula that works, a formation with the perfect balance. However, every great team must have a plan B. An alternative style or set of players that can provide something different in scenarios that require it.
Liverpool’s current style of play heavily relies on the width provided by the full-backs. That’s why Trent Alexander-Arnold is the team’s top chance creator, averaging 2.4 key passes a game. Such reliance has the potential to leave the team unstuck if the youngster is having a bad day.
In most teams, it’s the midfielders that are the creative hub of the team, the Reds don’t have that as their midfield three are mainly tasked with breaking up play, quickly switching play and sometimes make runs from deep into the box. In Lallana’s absence, a creative midfield option would be ideal to bring off the bench. Realistically, the Reds could target Alejandro Gomez, James Maddison or Jack Grealish to fill that void.
#2 Backup Winger
Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane are arguably the two best wingers on the planet. Their productivity rates are second to none and their ability to feast on half-chances has taken Liverpool to another level. Unfortunately, such is their class, that when the likes of Divock Origi, Xhedan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino come on for them, the drop in quality is immense.
As the best team in the world, the Reds need wide forwards on the bench that can change games in their own right. So, what talents would be good enough to grace Liverpool’s bench and compensate for the absence of Salah and Mane? Well, players like Hirving Lozano and Adama Traore fit that bill, players that possess wizardry dribbling and an undeniable chaos factor.
Look, I know Mane, Firmino and Salah are perhaps the most feared attacking trio in the world, but there’s always room for improvement. This season, Roberto Firmino hasn’t scored one single PL goal at Anfield. In fact, the Brazilian has only scored 8 goals in 35 PL appearances, despite averaging 2.7 shots a game. Granted, his work off the ball is vital to unlocking Salah and Mane in the final third, but his strike rate must have Klopp worried.
The African duo have 36 goals between them and if you were to add another lethal contributor to that output, they’d be unstoppable. As the Champions of England and the World, the Reds have the pulling power to attract any player on the globe. Realistically, names like Odsonne Edouard, Jonathan David, Donyell Malen and Luka Jovic could all make an impact at Anfield.