Jurgen Klopp has been told he has little choice but to spend heavily in 2023 in order to keep Liverpool competing for the top prizes in the game – and there is one player in particular who has been branded his perfect signing.
The Reds have endured a frustrating start to the season, having only won two of their opening six Premier League games. But from the highs of a 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth have come the lows of a loss to Manchester United. And worse was to come in the Champions League with a 4-1 humbling at Napoli, which, quite frankly, may have been much worse.
While two defeats in eight games is not altogether too bad, it’s a major dip as far as Liverpool are concerned. The club invested heavily over the summer on striker Darwin Nunez and the jury remains out on how successful he will be.
They also brought in youngsters Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay who are tipped to become future stars. But the failure to address their ageing midfield issue was perhaps the biggest surprise.
A succession of injuries in the area have only served to highlight their woes. Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all suffered knocks to leave Klopp light on options.
As a result, the Reds brought in Arthur Melo on deadline day to alleviate their issues. However, there are claims emerging that Klopp wants to cut the loan short and that the Brazilian was only Klopp’s fourth-choice signing.
And with Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain likely to leave as free agents in 2023, it’s still an area in need of strengthening.
Jude Bellingham would be perfect for Jurgen Klopp
Their No 1 target is widely docmented to be Jude Bellingham. The Borussia Dortmund star finds himself a man in huge demand. To that end, a report recently claimed Manchester United were willing to spend £131m to secure his signing.
Now former Reds defender Glen Johnson insists the signing of Bellingham is a must for Klopp in 2023.
He thinks, though, his signing will be difficult given the strong competition for the teenager.
“He’s been the man everyone’s been talking about. But as Liverpool will know, every club will want him,” Johnson told the Daily Express.
“Where he ends up we don’t know, but he’s certainly got to be high on the priority list. He could settle into that midfield perfectly. He will be their No 1 target but it will be tough to get it done.”
Assessing Liverpool’s current struggles, Johnson reckons it is always going to be hard to maintain those levels.
“I think it’s more of the fact that they set the bar so high that it’s impossible to maintain,” Johnson said.
“And with other clubs improving around you, it can quickly look like you’re having a very slow season. I just think a lot of clubs have improved. Liverpool’s squad is quite light, so when they do get two or three injuries they really do struggle with it.
“I think they need to get a few more bodies in. But you don’t get a bad manager or a bad team overnight. I don’t think they’re going to have problems going forward.”
New price attached to Liverpool transfer target
A deal for Bellingham will reportedly now cost interested clubs as much as £131m (€150m). However, a report has explained how Dortmund could actually sell for much less, with a figure of £83m on his head instead.
Indeed, they are adamant that Dortmund will accept the offer should someone come forward next summer. However, rather than pay any fee over the course of five or six seasons, they report the Bundesliga side will sell if offered the money up front.
And while that is certainly unusual in this day and age, the paper claims that will make him an even-more attractive signing for the Premier League big boys.
Whether Liverpool have the capital to get a deal done, however, remains to be seen. As a club, they don’t like getting into bidding wars over players. As such, the Reds are likely to walk away if there is an indication they are likely to be outgunned.
To that end, The Sun claims a move to Manchester City looks a likely solution for Bellingham. Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of the player and has seen at close hand what the teenager is capable of.
Any move for Bellingham before June 29 will make him the most expensive teenage footballer in British history. That ‘honour’ still falls upon Anthony Martial, with his signing costing Manchester United £58m.
Any deal for Bellingham though will comfortably shatter that.