Premier League • England

Klopp told Liverpool midfield not ‘biggest problem’, with other area ‘all over the place’ and signing needed

Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool during the FA Cup match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at the City Ground, Nottingham

Liverpool are under scrutiny for their lack of investment in their midfield, but there is another area they must not overlook, according to one observer.

Things have not gone to plan for Liverpool this season. After winning two trophies last term and finishing as runners up in two other competitions, there were two ways things could have gone. They could have progressed and achieved even more, or fallen away.

In the end, it has been the latter, but few could have predicted the extent to which it would happen. Liverpool are in midtable in the Premier League, way off the pace as they sit in 10th place.

Several issues have been spotted, with their midfield being one of the main concerns. Many of their options there appear to be past their best. It has left many criticising why they haven’t invested more into replenishing the position.

In the summer, it is likely that Liverpool will go into the market to rectify that. However, one pundit has now highlighted another area as the “biggest problem” for Jurgen Klopp to solve.

According to Frank McAvennie, Liverpool need to sign another defender to have the same impact as Virgil van Dijk did back in 2018.

Referring to the Dutchman, McAvennie told Football Insider: “He cruises through the game and helps [Andy] Robertson or Trent [Alexander-Arnold] when they go forward.

“When the others are coming in, they are all over the place.

“So that is the biggest problem for Klopp, to get players of a similar level so that when players like Van Dijk get injured, you have someone to fill in.

“Liverpool were nowhere until they bought Van Dijk, then overnight it was like a new team. When they bought him it changed overnight. These are small things that make it into a huge thing.”

Liverpool must learn from midfield neglect by being proactive with defence

Other than Van Dijk, Liverpool can currently call upon Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips at centre-back.

However, there have been several claims recently that Matip could leave in the summer. Phillips will also likely head off elsewhere after missing out on a move in January.

Van Dijk himself seems to have lost a bit of form this season and is beyond the age of 30. Therefore, Liverpool need to evolve their defensive department as well.

Even if their midfield might remain the priority, what has happened in that department proves how the club need to be more proactive. Thus, they should already be weighing up what they can change at the back in terms of personnel.

Konate is a high-pedigree player, given his involvement with the French national team. He might need to raise his standards at club level, but is still someone Liverpool can build around.

McAvennie might be right, though; Liverpool do look shaky at the back, and that can’t all be blamed on what is in front of them. Thus, they should be trying to find their next Van Dijk, which might be easier said than done.

READ MOREJurgen Klopp demands Liverpool to sign one Premier League star to transform fortunes under FSG