Jurgen Klopp has been told he should sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer in January if he wants to guarantee Premier League title success at Liverpool, according to one Chelsea old boy turned transfer pundit.
Ibrahimovic, 38, is coming to the end of a two-year spell in Los Angeles after the Swedish forward announced his departure from the Major League Soccer club via social media on Wednesday.
It means the former Manchester United striker, who has been tentatively linked with an Old Trafford return, will be a free agent and up for grabs in January.
AC Milan are reportedly keen to re-sign the striker who scored 56 goals in 85 appearances at the San Siro between 2010 and 2012, while a recent post from Ibrahimovic claiming he was heading back to Spain.
However, Liverpool boss Klopp – whose side are eight points clear of nearest challengers Leicester City in the Premier League title race – teased last week he could move for the veteran Swede had he not played for arch-rivals United.
“If he had not played for Manchester United before, then we might have considered him,” Klopp told Sportbladet.
“No, but I’m not even sure he wanted to play here. We’re a pretty intense team,” Klopp laughed.
“With that said, I couldn’t have had more respect for Zlatan. I love his whole career, love his efforts, love his confidence.
“While it may not always be right, it is entertaining anyway. He’s a fantastic character and I really hope he doesn’t stop playing football. The world will miss him too much.”
However, ESPN pundit Craig Burley believes Ibrahimovic would be the perfect option for Klopp if signed for half a season and reckons he could help the Reds over the finish line in their bid to wrestle the title crown from Manchester City.
“We laughed when we talked about if Jurgen Klopp had been asked about him,” Burley explained on ESPN FC. “But this is something I genuinely believe can work short-term.
“I know he doesn’t fit their style, with the pressing style and all that.
“But they have nobody else, literally nobody else, either than Roberto Firmino [in a central attacking role].
“Please don’t talk to me about Divock Origi, you’re talking about Liverpool trying to get over the line in the Premier League for 20-odd years. Sometimes you need something different.
“We’re talking about a guy who may only be coming off the bench now and again for 20 minutes or half an hour, and just bringing something different, that bit of quality.
“Nobody is asking him to run around or close teams down in the first half of a game.
“But I think he can really offer something to a team like that for six months towards the end of the season.
“I don’t suggest it’ll happen, but it would work.”