Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has reportedly made clear to the club’s board the names of the two midfield stars he wants to bring together in the Reds engine room.
The Merseysiders have enjoyed one of the most successful periods in their history under the German’s management since he took charge in October 2015. Reaching three Champions League finals in that time, Liverpool also ended their 30-year wait to become champions of England.
And with Klopp commited to Anfield until summer 2026, the Reds hope for more trophy success ahead.
However, this season has not gone according to plan so far and there is a developing crisis for Liverpool. And with an ageing midfield, the Reds have already lost six times in 18 Premier League games this season.
Indeed, that was never more cruelly exposed than on Saturday in a 3-0 defeat at Brighton. It was a match that Klopp described as possibly the worst during his time at Anfield.
Robbing them of possession time and again in midfield, Roberto De Zerbi’s side were good value for their win.
But for the Reds, major reconstruction work needs to be done on their engine room.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are both out of contract in the summer and destined to leave on frees. Indeed, reports claim the former may even depart earlier than expected.
In addition, James Milner – 37 earlier this month – looks likely to be in the final throws of his time on Merseyside.
As a result, Klopp will likely need two new midfield signings this year. And the Reds boss has as good as admitted that – though he doubts if any moves will come to fruition this month.
Klopp’s top two Liverpool midfield targets named
The Reds have been linked with a plethora of midfield options from across the globe. The likes of Sofyan Amrabat, Moises Caicedo, Youri Tielemans, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Teun Koopmeiners are just some of those mentioned as targets.
Now Paul Joyce of The Times – many of whom see as a trusted voice on all things Liverpool FC – has revealed the names of the two midfielders Klopp has at the top of his wishlist.
The first and most talked about target is Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham.
He was long been linked with a move to Merseyside, with the Reds seemingly among a clutch of clubs looking to prise him from BVB.
And while his asking price may well top £120m, it seems the Reds are ready to play an ace card by offering his father, Mark, a job at the club too.
As well as Bellingham, Joyce claims Klopp is also on the trail of Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes.
The 24-year-old Portual international only moved to Molineux over the summer in a club-record £38m move from Sporting Lisbon.
He was on Klopp’s radar prior to his switch to the Black Country – and Klopp has seemingly been tracking his progress since.
Indeed, his stay with the Old Gold may prove a brief one amid claims Liverpool are pondering a £50m approach. Per reports, that may be enough to persude Wolves to sell with new boss Julen Lopetegui seemingly chasing a potential replacement.
Joyce indicates that Klopp sees a Bellingham, Nunes tandem as a dream future midfield paring for Liverpool.
Liverpool ready for formation shake-up
As a result, the Reds may be ready to turn away from their usual 4-3-3 formation. That is an approach that has served Liverpool well over the years. And their preferred trio of Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson have been a major factor in recent successes.
However, Fabinho and Thiago have both come in for criticism this season. Indeed, following their surprise home loss to Leeds in October, Jamie Carragher branded the Brazil international as a “ghost” in the game.
And were they to sign both Bellingham and Nunes, it’s suggested Klopp could look to alter the Reds’ shape.
Deviating from their 4-3-3, Klopp may look to switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation. That would typically see Bellingham and Nunes as the midfield pair. And that formation would also allow the Reds to make the most of their vast array of attacking talent.
There may yet, though, be room for a Henderson, Thiago or Fabinho in a No 6 role. Were that to happen, Bellingham may be asked to play in an advanced midfield role.
However, his long-term ambitions suggest he is looking to steer the Reds away from their usual midfield three which have looked far too pedestrian this season.