Premier League • England

Six Liverpool issues Arne Slot needs to fix next season to turn Reds into title challengers

Ben Stewart
Incoming Liverpool boss Arne Slot and Mo Salah

Arne Slot has some big problems to fix

Arne Slot has taken over at Liverpool and we have identified six issues that the new boss needs to fix in order to turn the Reds into title challengers.

During Jurgen Klopp’s final season, the club finished third in the Premier League, nine points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

That’s definitely a solid enough foundation for Slot to build upon, but the new manager faces some glaring issues which need to be fixed in the near future.

We’ve taken a closer look at Liverpool this season and have found the six issues that the club need to fix in order to turn themselves into title challengers.

Become more clinical

One of the biggest tasks facing Slot next season relates to Liverpool’s inconsistent finishing. In the Premier League this season, only Everton have underperformed their xG (-13.9) by a bigger margin than Liverpool have (-8.2).

Creativity hasn’t been a problem for Klopp’s side as they have accumulated a higher xG than anyone else in the league and have taken more shots than any other club.

However, there is a clear issue to address when it comes to their finishing. Liverpool only have a chance conversion rate of 8% which is the lowest of any side that finished in the top half.

It’s also worth highlighting that Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah all ranked within the 10 biggest xG underperformers in the Premier League.

Then the likes of Curtis Jones, Cody Gakpo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch have also been guilty of underperforming their xG this season.

Liverpool created more than enough chances to win the league this season, so adding that extra bit of clinical finishing next season could make all the difference.

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Sign a new holding midfielder

While Wataru Endo has proven to be a solid signing, Liverpool are keen to strengthen their options in this area once again and for good reason.

Liverpool have conceded 41 goals this season, which is more than Arsenal and Man City. As Jamie Carragher pointed out earlier in the campaign, stopping counter-attacks has been a real issue for the Reds this season.

“Liverpool still aren’t as good as Man City at stopping counter attacks,” Carragher told Sky Sports back in November.

“Liverpool are a team who dominate possession, they have a lot of the ball, but they’re not quite as good as Man City off the ball, so there are more turnovers and they lose the ball.”

Adding a midfield destroyer who can complement the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Szoboszlai would be a great boost to Slot’s side next season.

In March, TEAMtalk sources confirmed that Porto star Alan Varela is among the midfielders who Liverpool are interested in ahead of the summer.

Replace Joel Matip

Along with signing a new holding midfielder, Liverpool are also in need of a new centre-half. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate have been the preferred partnership this season, with Jarell Quansah also enjoying a breakthrough campaign.

However, with Matip set to leave, the Reds do need to bolster their options in this position. Liverpool tend to face more shots than Arsenal and Man City which highlights the importance of strengthening this area.

David Hancko and Marc Guehi are among the players who have been linked with Liverpool in recent months, but the Reds have plenty of defensive targets on their radar.

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Address expiring contracts

Perhaps one of the most daunting tasks facing Liverpool next season relates to the contracts of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

All three players will enter the final year of their contract next season which leaves the club with a daunting task ahead of the summer.

It’s no secret that Salah has his admirers in Saudi Arabia, although recent reports have suggested that the Egyptian forward could snub the interest from abroad and pen a new deal with the club.

Alexander-Arnold continues to attract interest from Real Madrid and Van Dijk is yet to commit his long-term future to the club either.

Back in January, Van Dijk added fuel to the exit speculation as he didn’t guarantee that he will be part of the post-Klopp era at the club.

“Listen, I don’t know,” The defender told reporters. “The club will have a big job on their hands, that is well known.

“To replace the manager and replace not only the manager, the staff is leaving, and there are so many things that will change.

“So the club has a big job on its hands and I am very curious which direction that will go in. But when that will be announced we will see our situation, I can’t say now.”

With several senior players facing an uncertain future, Slot has a big job on his hands to get them all invested into the new project.

Adress the Caoimhin Kelleher situation

The 25-year-old goalkeeper rarely lets Liverpool down when given a chance, but with Alisson Becker firmly ahead of him in the pecking order, speculation surrounding the Irish goalkeeper is rife.

Klopp has always spoken highly of Kelleher, but there’s every chance that the 25-year-old pushes for the exit door this summer.

“We have the best goalkeeper in the world, and we have the best number two in the world,” Klopp declared earlier in the season.

According to reports, Liverpool ‘expect’ Kelleher to push for a summer exit and the club seemingly won’t stand in his way if he does decide to leave.

Finding a reliable backup goalkeeper is certainly no easy task, but there’s every chance that Liverpool will have to look for a new shot-stopper in the summer.

Decide which loanees have a future at the club

During the 2023-24 campaign, Liverpool had around 17 players out on loan. Slot must make a decision on these players and whether or not he thinks they have what it takes to play in the senior squad next season.

Of the players that were out on loan, the likes of Fabio Carvalho, Sepp van den Berg and Tyler Morton probably have the most realistic chances of making it into the senior squad next season.

Carvalho and Morton both did really well in the Championship with Hull City and Van den Berg has impressed in the Bundesliga for Mainz 05.

If Slot doesn’t think that these players have the minerals to make it at Anfield, the club will likely consider cashing in on them while their value is still high.

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