Listen to an exclusive interview here with Liverpool journalist DaveOCKOP and Ben Smedley( The Anfield Talk) admin and podcast host here:
It is fair to say that Liverpool have had their fair share of issues this season. The Reds have been like a YoYo this campaign, and this summer could be the most important yet. Liverpool are the cream of the crop: The Beatles, The Albert Docks, Scousers, and yet the biggest thing in Liverpool is football. Liverpool means everything for fans and the drop-off this season is enough to turn any scouser grey.
Jurgen Klopp re-signing till 2026 displays his eagerness for a rebuild and this summer is proving to be a very important one for Klopp's men. With Julian Ward leaving at the end of the season, Liverpool's recruitment team have to get it their business spot on.
The Reds have been abysmal at times this season with many of the fans turning on their own players that have brought an array of trophies to the club during Klopp's tenure.
Club captain: Jordan Henderson is one of many players that have come under fire by the fans this season. Henderson has been pivotal in the club's recent successes and is known in the dressing room as a leader and sets the standards on and off the pitch.
However, the fans have not been shy in letting their thoughts be known about the captain's performances this season, with fans on social media giving the captain a hard time.
It is difficult to defend the Englishmen's form this season, but he is a mainstay in this Liverpool side and he is an excellent captain. He is just one of many leaders in the dressing room, alongside the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, James Milner, and now even Trent Alexander Arnold.
With Liverpool's aging squad, the Reds will have to recruit smartly. This is why I spoke to Liverpool journalist DaveOCKOP and asked him why there has been such a drop-off this season. Dave said " You think Jurgen Klopp underestimated the need for reinforcements? The biggest shock for me was after the World Cup break, we only had seven players going to the World Cup."
" Everybody thought we were going to get a reinvigorated Liverpool side but we didn't. I think a lot of it has to do with the age profile of the squad."
" We have also been unlucky with injuries, particularly Luis Diaz. I just think it was tiredness from last season. I think the psychological effect from missing out on four trophies means that the willingness to get up and go again was sapped out of the squad a lot."
"I think the biggest issue is the squad we have and Klopp did not see the drop-off you know?"
I then asked Dave who would be the one player that would be a dream signing for Liverpool and he gave an interesting answer. Dave said, " I've been saying it for a long time but I'd love Nicolo Barella for Liverpool to sign."
" I know that Jude Bellingham is a real all-rounder but if he's going to cost £130 million..."
" I've loved Barella for years, he's a fantastic player, he can score goals, he's box-to-box, and he's athletic. There may be question marks over his physicality in the Premier League, but he's the one player I'd love Liverpool to sign."
Dave is a huge fan of Nicolo Barella and it's no wonder why, he is a fantastic player and would definitely improve Liverpool's midfield tenfold. I then asked Dave his thoughts on Liverpool's ideal midfield next season. He gave great insight and said, "I know it's early days of Trent Alexander-Arnold, but if you have Bellingham and Barella, I think it would be quite a decent midfield!"
" It will be interesting to see how Stefan Bajcetic comes back from injury, I think he's fantastic in some of the games this season. If he can maintain his current progress I would like to have him sitting as well."
" Bellingham and Barella would be ideal but do I think that both of them will sign? No aha."
The fans are a huge part of any club, hence why I asked you, the public on Twitter, how much Liverpool should spend in the summer transfer window and these were the results:
As you can see 50% of voters believe Liverpool should spend between £150-£200 million on signings with that being the threshold for most fans to believe that Liverpool can go back to being one of Europe's best.
Liverpool's top 5 midfield shortlist: Consisting of Alexis Mac Allister, Joao Palhinha, Ryan Gravenberch, Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher:
If you want to read more on these 5 midfielders, read this article here I did on the DaveOCKOP website:
In order to get a more comprehensive insight, I asked Ben Smedley from The Anfield Talk, his opinion on why Liverpool have had such a drop-off and he said " I feel like there are a lot of reasons, one of the main ones being that the team went for every single trophy last season and missing out on the Premier League the final day. We miss out on the Champions League."
" I think psychologically, emotionally, and psychically, every aspect of that just comes into one package really."
" It was always going to take a bit of time to get over it, but then the pre-season turnaround was quick, then there's the World Cup. There are always factors going into it and I think we put too much into last season."
"The lack of investment, looking back now was an absolute shambles!"
Ben talking about the lack of investment there, but it's becoming more apparent that Liverpool will spend this summer. Thus why I asked him who would be his number one target for the summer. Ben said, " On the basis that Jude ( Bellingham) isn't going to come in, I think that Alexis Mac Allister has been a huge story recently."
" He's a player that I'd definitely be up for signing because you look at the RCM spot, it's a big weakness for us. We've seen Henderson go out wide, but he's not really able to play that role."
" When you look at the likes of Thiago, who I think is one of the greatest players we've seen at Liverpool. But we keep waiting on him every season to come back from injuries. It's all well and good being a world-class player, but I think signing someone else who can play that role would be a massive boost for us."
" Granted Mac Allister is nowhere near Thiago right now, but he is definitely the one and I think that £60 million asking price, is definitely in our realistic budget."
Ben is a huge fan of the Argentinian, It is clear to see why as he would massively bolster Liverpool's midfield and add a creative spark that has been missing from Klopp's engine room.
Lastly, I asked Ben on who his ideal starting midfield three would be for next season. Ben said this " On paper, if Klopp sticks with the 4-3-3, we might see Trent in there but for the sake of him being a right back, I think Fabinho starts."
" He might get one more chance because, with other new midfielders around him, he might think that he'll have that protection and energy he's not had this season."
" I think Mac Allister comes in at LCM and take the workload off Thiago. We probably ask Thiago to play a bit much right now. He's injury prone we knew that when we signed him but we didn't sign anybody else."
" RCM, maybe Ryan Gravenberch or Henderson or even Mason Mount. That would be my ideal three."
It is clear that Liverpool need heavy financial backing in the summer, every credible media outlet is saying that they will spend big. But as Ben reinforced the need for the recruitment to be right, it will ultimately be up to the scouts at Liverpool to smash the transfer window.
Liverpool have been in great form recently, winning three from their last three, and are showing signs of significant improvement. However, it is imperative that they spend big in the summer to catch up with their rivals and place themselves as one of the best teams around next season.
Images taken from lfc.site Instagram following Liverpool's 2-1 win against West Ham- 27th April 2023
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