In the latest of our new feature, we look at what Premier League clubs need to do in the January transfer window. Next up: Liverpool.
The January transfer window may be three months away, but Premier League clubs up and down the country are busy getting their plans in order to go shopping in the New Year.
The sums spent might not be anywhere near what was laid out in the summer, but the window can play a key role in shaping some teams’ seasons.
Next up to come under the microscope at TEAMtalk.com is Liverpool and what they need to do in January to get their squad right.
Positions to strengthen
It does not take a rocket scientist or a transfer committee to work out where Liverpool need to strengthen and Jurgen Klopp will be address his side’s defensive issues in January.
Liverpool have scored the joint-most goals in the Premier League so far this season with 18 goals in seven games, but they have conceded the most goals of any side in the top half of the table.
Liverpool have already conceded 10 goals and their defensive deficiencies are something Klopp and his coaching staff must rectify if they are to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish – or who knows, even better….
The left-back spot has been a problematic position for Liverpool for several seasons and they failed to bring in a new full-back in the summer to solve the issue. That said, James Milner has filled in admirably at left-back so far this season, but it is very much a case of square pegs in round holes for the experienced midfielder.
Liverpool have got away with playing the former England international in an unfamiliar role so far this term, but it could come back to haunt them if they do not bring in a recognised left-back soon.
Central defence is also an issue for Klopp as the German does not have many options in the heart of his rearguard. Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are the preferred partnership in defence, but injuries to either or both of these two would leave Liverpool short of options with Mamadou Sakho still seemingly frozen out of the first-team picture.
Liverpool transfer targets
Jurgen Klopp returned to the Bundesliga in the summer to bring in three new signings and he may continue that trend in January by making a move for Hoffenheim and Germany defender Niklas Sule.
Liverpool considered a move for Sule in the summer before opting to bring in Ragnar Klavan from Augsburg and scouts have continued to keep tabs on Sule. The 6ft, 5in centre-back is highly-regarded in Germany and his possible arrival could help solve Liverpool’s problems in defending set-pieces as Sule is a dominant figure in the air.
Fellow German Jonas Hector was also a target for Liverpool in the summer after impressing for his country at Euro 2016. Cologne star Hector would be the obvious choice to solve Liverpool’s left-back dilemma, but it could be difficult to prise the player away from Cologne in the New Year as he has just recently signed a new deal at the club.
A target closer to home could come in the shape of Burnley defender Michael Keane with the player impressing in the Premier League this season. Chelsea are admirers of Keane, but Liverpool are also thought to be keeping tabs on the former Manchester United youngster, as reported in Wednesday’s Rumour Mill.
Keane caught the eye of Klopp when keeping a clean sheet in Burnley’s 2-0 win over Liverpool earlier this season and the talented centre-back has been rewarded for his fine form by being called up to the senior England squad.
Liverpool spent £69.90 million in the summer transfer window, but were only one of four Premier League clubs to make a net profit in the summer. Liverpool recouped a league-high £84.4m from offloading 11 players for fees meaning they made a net profit of £14.5million.
The opening of the club’s new main stand will also increase revenue for the club with Klopp hoping some of this will be included in his transfer kitty.
Liverpool have enjoyed success in the January transfer window in the past bringing in the likes of Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in the middle of the season and Klopp is sure to have money to spend especially if Liverpool are in contention for a title tilt or a top four finish.
Much-maligned defender Alberto Moreno would likely be the biggest casualty should Liverpool bring in a new left-back in January. The Spaniard had hardly had a look in after an error-strewn display on the opening weekend of the season against Arsenal and has not featured in the Premier League since.
James Milner has taken Moreno’s place as first-choice left-back in Klopp’s plans and any new arrival would push the former Sevilla man further down the pecking order at Anfield.
The future also does not look too bright for Mamadou Sakho with the Frenchman being ostracised by Klopp since being sent home early on Liverpool’s pre-season tour of America.
The French defender has not featured in the first-team so far this season and he is reported to have upset Klopp by turning down several offers to go out on loan during the summer.
If Sakho is unable to break into the team by the time January comes around he may be forced to seek a move away in search of regular first-team football.
Another player who has been continually linked with a move away from Liverpool is Daniel Sturridge with the striker finding his chances in the starting XI restricted this season.
Sturridge will not be happy at not playing on a regular basis and could move on amid doubts over his suitability of playing Klopp’s style of football.
Sturridge’s fitness concerns have also raised question marks over the England international’s long-term future on Merseyside. Arsenal are understood to be admirers of Sturridge and are actively monitoring his situation at Anfield.