Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confidently believes his side will be back in Premier League title contention next season as the first two signings of their summer inch closer.
The Reds finished the 2022/23 campaign in fifth place to salvage a Europa League place. Reaching the 2024 final in Dublin – the nearest capital city to Liverpool – will be one of their aims next season. However, that will pale into insignificance against the main aim Klopp will be tasking his side.
Indeed, the season just finished will not be one that lives long in the memory. Failure to mount a trophy challenge – nine league losses told its own story – as well as crashing out tamely in all three cup competitions hurt.
For a side that the previous season had fallen just a few games short of the Quadruple, the drop-off was vast.
However, plans are already well underway to ensure Liverpool can rise again.
Departing Anfield this summer are Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner – the latter against Klopp’s wishes, incidentally.
And with Arthur Melo also returning to Juventus, Liverpool have a massive chance to freshen up their midfield options.
As a result, two early deals are gathering serious pace to kickstart the summer window for the Merseysiders.
First up, a move for Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister looks first through the door.
Liverpool are closing in on a £69.4m deal to bring the Argentine to Anfield. And although the signing of the World Cup winner is perhaps not as close as made up, Roberto De Zerbi has confirmed he’s played his final game for Brighton.
Neves to Liverpool as De Zerbi expects Mac Allister to leave
Addressing the speculation linking Mac Allister with Liverpool, De Zerbi confirmed his likely departure.
“I think that can be the last game of Alexis and Moises [Caicedo], I’m really sorry,” said De Zerbi after the game.
“They are two great people and two great players.
“The policy of Brighton is like this,” added De Zerbi. “I think it’s right they can leave, can change teams and play in a level higher.
“We are ready. We have to find others big players to play without Alexis and Moises.
“If you ask me about Caicedo and Mac Allister, I love them and they are two big, big players and can be in a big, big European team,” added De Zerbi.
“They can play in every competition and are ready to compete for a big team and I hope for them they can play in the best team in the world.”
The capture of Mac Allister is likely to go through early in June with the player’s father arriving for talks this week after a details on his proposed Anfield deal were leaked.
By widespread accounts, Mac Allister will be joined at Anfield by Wolves star Ruben Neves.
The Portuguese star had been expected to move to Barcelona, but their lack of funds has provided an opening for Liverpool.
Now it seems a £50m offer for the 26-year-old is starting to gather pace, with Wolves reportedly ready to accept.
Klopp confident of 2024 Liverpool title bid
With a big summer of arrivals on the cards, Klopp is confidentally predicting a return to title contention for Liverpool.
And in a warning to Manchester City, Arsenal and the like, Klopp believes his side will not perform as badly again.
“There were moments during the season when you thought ‘the season will be four years long’,” he said. “Thank God for the last 11 games, that helped massively, gave us a real boost, gave us a perspective, gave us a basis for what we have to do.”
Klopp added: “That it didn’t turn into the best ever season, we see that, we know that, we are very disappointed about the fact that we didn’t make it to the top four.
“But there are moments when you have to admit there were four teams that were better than us. That’s the truth.
“We played a bad season, we come fifth, that is a message as well.
“Imagine we were our normal self, which we absolutely will be again next season and will be a contender again. That’s how is it. The last 11 games helped us to realise that again.”