It has been exciting times at Anfield ever since the owners announced the signature of the German talisman Jürgen Klopp, 8 games into the previous season. The new manager took the club to two cup finals, and though was not able to taste success, has already had his impact on the squad. And with additions from the summer transfer window, the manager is expected to repeat his heroics of Borussia Dortmund. But somehow, with all of the transfers he has completed, Klopp has not been able to win over the fans with his transfer business and has left a glaring hole or two in the squad.
As every Red would understand, I am talking about the Spaniard Alberto Moreno. The 24-year old is arguably one of the most exciting players in his position in the Premier League but his defensive contributions, or the lack of it, have hurt the club on more than one occasion. Moreno has decent ability with the ball but his positioning sense and understanding of the game are at times mediocre. He is more than just a liability for a club challenging for a Champions League spot and Klopp has rightly looked into the window for his replacement. However, the likes of Ben Chilwell, Jonas Hector, Jetro Willems and Mattia de Sciglio have all eluded the manager and has left him desperate for a left-back in the window.
So the manager decided that James Milner, a 100k-a-week earner, will play as a cover, more so because he would not get enough game time in his regular position anyway. The whole story shows that Klopp has not managed to excel so far in the transfer window and has left a huge weakness for opponents to exploit. James Milner is by no means a bad option at any position in the outfield and his work ethics will help Liverpool in defence, but he is not a player accustomed to that position and mistakes are bound to arise. But this is only a part of the problem at the club. Liverpool are also lacking a top class defensive midfielder who can provide cover to the back four.
Klopp is set to play Emre Can and Jordan Henderson in the two places in front of defence with a free role for the England man. Can has shown that he can be more than a decent midfielder and will probably play most of the season in that position. But Jordan Henderson has not been able to provide the kind of an impact that Klopp needs from his midfield engines. Though Henderson will work his socks off, he has not been able to influence the game as much as he is expected to. Georginio Wijnaldum is expected to take that role at times but he is far from a proper midfielder and is more of an attacking threat. This has left the Liverpool squad a bit short on defensive midfielders in the squad and all it will take is one injury (which is not new to the Reds) for them to lose cover in that position. Marko Grujic is expected to be the understudy but his lack of experience can easily come back to bite the team if he is to play regularly in crunch times next season.
Klopp may still be able to bring a left-back to the squad this summer but he must also try hard to get a defensive midfielder into the squad as it will provide enough experience, mettle and cover to the midfield which is an important part of Klopp’s squad. The next season will Liverpool play Klopp’s full throttle football and the manager will need as much depth as he can collect in the transfer market to keep his men fighting till the end. So finishing his transfer business without purchasing a left-back and another defensive midfielder can be disastrous for Liverpool ambitions next season.